YMCA Honors Ambassador Andrew Young and Dr. Walter Young With Its Highest Award

The YMCA of Metro Atlanta is proud to honor Ambassador Andrew Young and Dr. Walter Young with The Bransby Christian Leadership Award. The award is our association’s highest award given for outstanding volunteer service. This award was established in 1984 in honor of Joseph C. Bransby, former president of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta and a truly dedicated servant leader.

Brothers Andrew and Walter Young grew up in the Dryades Street YMCA in New Orleans and have been committed members, volunteers, and supporters of the YMCA in Atlanta since moving here as adults. For many decades, they have created a legacy of leadership, both locally and internationally, through their work and service, always driven to create a better future for all people.




Ambassador Andrew Young began his career as a minister and was an early leader in the civil rights movement, serving as director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a top aide to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He has long been committed to improving the lives of all people and working for justice and equality.

Andrew later became active in politics, serving as a US Congressman and then US Ambassador to the United Nations under the Carter Administration. He served as Mayor of Atlanta from 1982 to 1990 and was instrumental in securing the 1996 Summer Olympic Games for the city. Andrew’s leadership helped Atlanta earn the international reputation it holds today.

Since leaving office, he has served with many organizations addressing issues of public policy, and he has worked to facilitate economic development in the Caribbean and Africa. Andrew has traveled to more than 150 countries, including 48 of 53 countries in Africa, where he has created and shared a successful model that combines religion, education, democracy, and free enterprise in ways that support the public good.

“The work that is happening at the Andrew and Walter Young Family Y reflects who Ambassador Young and Dr. Young are and what they hope to see in the community. They are inspiring the Southwest Atlanta community and the city every day through their selfless service to others,” says Lauren Koontz, YMCA of Metro Atlanta President & CEO

Following in the footsteps of his father, Dr. Walter Young became a dentist and established his first practice in New Orleans, where he also taught at Dillard University. Walter was also active in the civil rights movement, supporting the All-African Students Association sit-ins at the New Orleans Woolworth lunch counter and other businesses.

After moving to Atlanta in 1978, he worked to address the issues of dental health and equality within the community, establishing dental programs in schools, churches, and organizations across the city. Walter’s dental practice has served Atlanta for more than three decades, and he is a leader within the medical and business community, serving as a member of the City of Atlanta Blue Ribbon Committee on Equal Business Opportunity and many other civic organizations. Walter possesses a keen knowledge of African American history and is honorary consul general for Liberia.

Andrew and Walter, along with their wives Carolyn and Sonjia and their families, have actively served the Southwest Atlanta community by setting an example of social responsibility for young people and inspiring them to reach for a better future.

Through their service to the YMCA, the Young family has brought many opportunities to teens and spent countless hours connecting with youth through mentoring, college visits and even an opportunity to meet and talk with Maya Angelou in person at the YMCA teen center — now named in her honor. In 2007, the Southwest Family YMCA was renamed in their honor as the Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA. We are proud to honor Andrew and Walter, two true servant leaders, for their lifelong commitment to service, building community and living the values of the Y — caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.