Kenneth T. Vehrkens Awarded the Unsung Hero Award from Minority Athletes Networking Etc., Inc.
Teaneck, NJ (May 9, 2007)—Minority Athletes Networking Etc., Inc. (MAN) has chosen Kenneth T. Vehrkens as the recipient of their 2007 Unsung Hero Award. The award, which is given to supporters of MAN whose efforts are not often publicly recognized, was presented at MAN’s Sixteenth Annual Benefit Dinner on Tuesday, May 8, 2007. Vehrkens is dean of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Anthony J. Petrocelli College of Continuing Studies and associate vice president for lifelong learning.
The MAN organization was founded in 1989 by former New York Giants football players George Martin and Ron Johnson to positively influence the lives of disadvantaged youth in inner-city communities in New Jersey and New York. Vehrkens has been a member of MAN’s Board of Advisors since 1989 and his efforts have made an enormous impact.
“Ken has been an original benefactor for MAN since our inception in 1989,” says George Martin, co-founder of MAN and dinner chairman. “He is a tireless champion of continuing education and most importantly, a good friend.”
Throughout his time with MAN, Vehrkens has worked with current and former NY Giants players in an outreach program for elementary, middle and high schools in New York and New Jersey. Each school year, he and a current or former player visit 20 schools to teach students about the importance of setting goals and avoiding substance abuse. Over the past 20 years, Vehrkens has helped reach out to more than 60,000 students through this program.
Through his partnership with MAN, Vehrkens also helped plan softball and basketball games featuring the 1986 NY Giants Superbowl Team, which raised tens of thousands of dollars for individual charities. He also organized an effort between MAN, FDU and the Tomorrows Children’s Fund to bring children with cancer to FDU’s College at Florham campus when the NY Giants used the grounds as a training camp from 1988 – 1995. The children and their families participated in a short program, lunch, photo session and practice session with NY Giants players.
In 2001, Vehrkens helped coordinate MAN’s Scholastic Aptitude Test Preparatory (SAT Prep) course. The 32-hour course was designed to build students’ confidence in taking the SAT and prepare them for college admission and graduation. The program involved students from the READY Program, New Jersey Path Ways, The Football Foundation Play It Smart Program and the Newark Boys and Girls Club.
Vehrkens’ dedication has given MAN an FDU home for some of its programs. He helps by sponsoring academic interest lectures and theatrical performances for students mentored by MAN and FDU. Through his efforts, thousands of young students have achieved academic and personal success.
MAN’s Sixteenth Annual Benefit Dinner also honored the NY Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and the 1986 Giants Superbowl Team.