BALTIMORE -- Orioles center fielder Adam Jones and his wife, Audie, want to help improve education for Baltimore's youth. That's why the couple is involved with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore's Youth of the Year Scholarship Award this year.
This year's program, designated to help give deserving Boys & Girls Club members financial aid as they pursue higher education, required essays, a speech about life goals, and character recommendations. And the five finalists were on hand Tuesday, along with the Joneses, to receive $1,000 scholarships and submit their case to be the top applicant and net another $5,000.
"This is an important day for myself and my wife," said Jones, who is a Boys & Girls Club alumni from San Diego and invests heavily in the local chapter in Baltimore. "We are able to put our stamp on education in Baltimore, together. I think I've done a lot, but her name and her influence has not been on here yet, and this is the first time she's really going to be able to impact my off-the-field endeavors.
"What I'm trying to do is invest in the youth. The youth in Baltimore is very important for me to invest my time, resources and finances. So I'm very thankful to my wife to be a part of it. And also, [to] the contestants, thank you for accepting this challenge. I know it wasn't easy. … I'm curious to hear everybody's reasons as to why they should be the Youth kid of the year."
The money given to the five finalists is part of $75,000 contribution from the Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation and Jones. The group -- Jamera Turner, D'Asesha Mays, Corey Thomas, Rayshaunah Thames and Ananda Cromell -- took turns on the podium to say a few words before stating their case privately with Adam, Audie and representatives from the Boys & Girls Club.
"I've been a member for five years and I will not forget how it inspires me to do all things I put my mind to," said Thomas, who is a member of the Westport chapter.
Each of the finalists will receive a $1,000 scholarship & one winner will receive an additional $5,000 award toward his or her education. pic.twitter.com/W7NXOJiB09
The winner will be announced prior to Friday's game against the Yankees in a special pregame ceremony with the Jones family.
"I'm really excited to be involved with this this year," Audie said. "Education is very important to me. I have pursued further education myself, so I've been looking forward to getting a chance to working with some youth and talking to them about how grades are important. A lot of these kids still have time to better their grades, which will help get them to college. And we hope that our donation will help them in their future."