Updated: Jun 29, 2021
Yankton native and South Dakota Basketball Gatorade State Player of the Year, Matthew Mors, awarded United Way of Greater Yankton’s Connecting Kids Youth Scholarship Program with a $1,000.00 grant to help accomplish their goals of ensuring that all children are able to participate in the same activities as their peers, and that no child is turned away for inability to pay.
Sports have seen a double-digit decline over the past decade, largely due to tighter budgets in communities, but young people that participate in sports are found to be happier, healthier and better students. Gatorade Play It Forward empowers Gatorade Player of the Year recipients across the country to award local or national sports organizations with grants, so they can continue helping young athletes enjoy the benefit of sports.
The Gatorade Player of the Year award highlights student-athletes who set an example both on and off the field. The grants give these athletes a chance to donate to organizations like, United Way Connecting Kids, that positively impact the youth in their own communities.
All Gatorade State Player of the Year recipients are awarded a grant to donate to the organization of their choosing. Gatorade awards 12 Spotlight Grants, one for each sport recognized by the Player of the Year program.
“I am proud to have the opportunity to donate to United Way's Connecting Kids Youth Scholarship Program,” stated Mors. “As a role model for so many kids in this community I wanted to pick an organization where these funds would have the greatest impact on as many kids as possible. This is an opportunity for me to give back to the community by helping kids participate in youth activities who cannot afford the fees required to do so.”
“United Way is once again very grateful for the advocacy and support from Matthew of our Connecting Kids Youth Scholarships,” stated Lauren Hanson, United Way of Greater Yankton Executive Director. “Thanks to Matthew and Gatorade Play it Forward, since 2019, over 3,500 local youth have benefited from Connecting Kids funded programming. What an incredible impact on our community!”
The Gatorade Player of the Year is an athletic award program that annually recognizes student-athletes not only for outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character in 12 different sports: football, boys and girls basketball, baseball, boys and girls soccer, softball, boys and girls track & field, girls volleyball and boys and girls cross country. The Gatorade Player of the Year Award is the most prestigious award in high school sports. In existence for more than 30 years, past winners include Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Karl-Anthony Towns, Derek Jeter and many other sports icons.