CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Ohio-West Virginia Youth Leadership Association will honor Sylvia Mathews Burwell at its annual Spirit of the Mountains event, to be held at the Governor's Mansion in Charleston on March 20.A native of Hinton, Burwell was president of the Hinton TRI HI-Y, a group of high school boys and girls in the YMCA and YWCA, and a member of the West Virginia Youth in Government Student Legislature.After graduating from Harvard University, she was a Rhodes Scholar who studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University in England.Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget today, Burwell also served as President Bill Clinton's deputy chief of staff and held senior positions at the Gates Foundation and Wal-Mart Foundation.Tom Starr, YLA's executive director, said, "The Spirit of the Mountains Lewis N. McManus YLA Service Award recognizes individuals whose lives reflect the values of YLA and the life of Lew McManus."A Beckley native, McManus was a member of the House of Delegates from 1965 to 1976, and served as speaker from 1971 to 1976. McManus became executive secretary of the Public Employees Retirement System in 1977."The recipient demonstrates a lifelong commitment to helping others, hard work, education, responsible citizenship, and building better futures for all -- especially youth," Starr said. "Sylvia embodies these traits."Previous recipients of the McManus Service Award include: Sen. Jay Rockefeller; former Govs. Gaston Caperton and Cecil Underwood; Jessica Lynch, a prisoner-of-war in Iraq; Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association; Gayle Manchin, wife of Sen. Joe Manchin; and Buck Harless, the late coal mine operator and philanthropist.The YLA Youth in Government program urges teenagers to identify the kinds of schools and communities they want and to create and carry out volunteer initiatives to achieve their visions.
Those teens also write legislation for YLA's Youth in Government program.Sponsorship packages and individual tickets are available for the reception on Thursday, March 20, which begins at 6 p.m. For more information, people may call 304-675-5899 or visit www.yla-youthleadership.org