NEW ORLEANS, June 4, 2007 — Partnership Announcement Scheduled at Club's NFL/YET Center on June 7 at 3 p.m.

Going to college can turn teenagers into leaders, and a new scholarship program offered by University of Phoenix and Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana is looking to help 10 local students harness the power of education to benefit their communities. Through the First Chance Scholarship Program, parents and caregivers who dedicated their lives to raising children, teaching them the value of education, and supporting their efforts to pursue their college education, and exceptional youth who clearly demonstrate a passion for learning, strength of character, and the desire to make a difference, who are members, parents of members, or alumni of the Boys & Girls Clubs can apply to receive full-tuition scholarships for a bachelor's degree at University of Phoenix – an award valued at approximately $54,000.

University of Phoenix – Louisiana Campus Director Brent Lyons and Troy Carter, chairman of the corporate board of directors for Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana, and New Orleans City Council President Arnie Fielkow will announce the partnership at a special press conference scheduled on Thursday, June 7 at 3 p.m. at the Club's NFL/YET Center, 1140 S. Broad St. in New Orleans.

"Our young people have experienced some trying times recently, and opportunities like the First Chance Scholarship Program enables them to look forward to a world of new possibilities," said Arnie Fielkow, president of the New Orleans City Council. "I am grateful to the University of Phoenix for its compassion and generosity to the youth of New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana."�

The First Chance Scholarship Program was established by University of Phoenix and actor and education advocate, Tom Arnold in 2006 to promote the life-changing benefits of education, and honor individuals who have shown desire to improve their lives and the lives of those around them through education. The scholarship program and the hope it represents are in memory of Ryan Francis, a devoted son and talented student-athlete at the University of Southern California. During a special Mother's Day visit to his hometown of Baton Rouge last spring, 19-year-old Ryan was killed in a random act of violence. Tom Arnold, who was filming a movie in Baton Rouge when the tragedy occurred, was moved by the Francis family's story.

"Students like Ryan are the leaders of tomorrow, and it is important to develop this leadership potential through a college education," Arnold said. "The First Chance Program is designed to identify these young leaders, and help them create a culture of education in their families and communities."�

Applications will be received by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana, who, based on the scores of the Scholarship Committee selected by the Club with a representative from University of Phoenix will determine the recipients. The application includes four questions the applicants answer to explain why they should be selected to receive a scholarship.

Scholarships can be used at one of the University's 190 U.S. ground campuses, including University of Phoenix – Louisiana at its Metairie, Baton Rouge or Lafayette sites, or online. More First Chance Scholarship Program information is available at

"Going to college has the power to change lives, and we are extremely grateful to University of Phoenix for bringing this opportunity to our members," said Troy A. Carter from Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana.

About the First Chance Scholarship Program

Established by University of Phoenix and actor Tom Arnold and inspired by the late Ryan Francis, the First Chance Scholarship Program awards 100 full-tuition scholarships to parents who are the first in their families to attend college, parents of college athletes and exceptional teenagers and young adults through community organizations across the country.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help students balance education and life in a rapidly changing world. Through flexible schedules, challenging courses and interactive learning, students achieve personal and career aspirations without putting their lives on hold. As of August 31, 2008, 362,100 students were enrolled at University of Phoenix, the largest private university in North America. University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana 

The nonprofit organization's mission is to inspire and enable all young people from Southeast Louisiana, especially those who need it most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.


Kate Schneiderman
Director of Communications for Councilmember Arnie Fielkow
(504) 658-1060