Sabrina Walker Hernandez, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg RGV, recently received the highest honor bestowed upon a Boys & Girls Club Professional in the eight state region, during the BGCA Southwest/Pacific Regional Leadership Conference in Las Vegas.

The Jim Wetherington Southwesterner Award is presented in memory of a caring and committed leader who grew up in a Club and devoted 37 years of his entire professional life to making a difference in the lives of kids. Wetherington shaped thousands of young lives for the better. To be eligible for this prestigious award, an individual must measure up to the following criteria:

1. The individual recognized must – by thought, word and deed – exemplify the highest type of professional Boys & Girls Club worker.

2. They must have given 100% plus of him/herself in service to the development of Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Southwest Region in areas such as:

(a) Active membership on national and regional committees and conference programs

(b) Demonstrated cooperation with fellow workers in the field in developing and promoting the Boys & Girls Club Movement.

3. The individual must have demonstrated unusual initiative, imagination and creativeness in the interest of the local Boys & Girls Club and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Movement,

(a) Development of and sharing of program ideas, resource development programs and personnel programs.

(b) An awareness of the problems besetting the Movement and a willingness to help solve such problems.

(c) Putting the interest of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Movement above self-interest

Selected by a panel of previous Wetherington recipients and National BGC professionals, Sabrina was chosen as this year’s recipient. For more than 18 years she has dedicated her career and life to professionally developing others throughout the BGC Movement as well as impacting the disparity gap and leveling the playing field for all kids in regard to equal access to quality, affordable, after-school and summer programs.

“I know Boys & Girls Clubs provide access and opportunity to community youth. Our work is centered on giving every child the opportunity to embrace their uniqueness, no matter where they come from. I know that a Club meets the academic, physical and emotional needs of youth who walk through our doors every day and club members who stay with the program through high school have statically proven to outperform their counterparts,” Walker Hernandez said.

“Although I am honored to be recognized for my wok, there is more work to be done. Today, Edinburg & surrounding community kids are in crisis. Two out of 5 kids live in poverty, one out of 5 teens becomes pregnant, and one out of 5 kids in the City of Edinburg won’t graduate from high school on time. Our organization has a 5 year strategic goal to break the cycle of poverty by helping to increase the high school graduation rate by 5%, helping cut the teen pregnancy rate by 10%, and raising $4 million to construct a Teen Innovation Center and to sustain and strengthen Boys & Girls Clubs. No organization, individual or school system can accomplish this agenda alone. Together, we can transform an entire generation.”

Although she is originally from the East Coast, Sabrina attended college at the University of Texas Pan America receiving her undergraduate degree in Political Science and her Master’s in Public Administration. She started her Boys & Girls Clubs career in 1999 in Edinburg under the leadership of Mary A. Flores. She has pursued her passion and dreams throughout the Southwest Region serving on regional and national committees and participating in numerous trainings to include the Harvard Executive Leadership Summit. She has served as the CEO of the Edinburg organization since 2005 and is also the 2nd Vice President of The Professional Association Board of Directors representing BGC professionals from throughout the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Movement.

“It has been my privilege to be part of the Boys & Girls Club and to make this my life’s work. I am absolutely honored to have been selected for this award and to be considered to have achieved the greatness and impact Jim Wetherington did,” Walker Hernandez said. “I have been fortunate to have high caliber people surround me from colleagues, local BGC staff and BGC board members. Throughout the years I have learned something from each of them; the experiences I take from the Club have taught me how to be a leader with purpose, excellence and commitment with one goal in mind and that is to make a positive difference in the life of a child.”