Youth of the Year

Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club members. Each year, one exceptional young person from a Boys & Girls Club rises to the role of National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year serves as both an exemplary ambassador for Boys & Girls Club youth and as a strong voice for all of our nation’s young people.

2017 Youths of the Year

When I first came to the United States I didn’t know anyone, nor did I make any friends, until I discovered the Boys & Girls Club where I saw many teens and wanted to join. 
Gloria and her family arrived in the United States in 2014 from Angola and South Africa. They left their home country to pursue a peaceful existence with chances for a better education. Arriving in a new country as a teen, Gloria was sad to leave her friends and worried she wouldn’t make new ones. That changed the day she joined the Boys & Girls Clubs three years ago. At the Club she met other people from her country as well as from around the world. When she started school, she already had friends from the Club to walk to class with. She loves the diversity at the Portland Clubhouse. 

Gloria quickly became an everyday Club member. She participates in many programs including Teen Power Hour (homework help and tutoring) and the Debate Program. Gloria credits debate with strengthening her public speaking and presentation skills. Gloria loves volunteering with the younger members. She has attended college tours and loves field trips. 

Gloria is currently a junior at Portland High School where she takes Honors French and Pre-calculus. Gloria plans to become an ophthalmologist. 
The Boys & Girls Club has given me the opportunity to do what I love like dancing, performing and singing. ..I have stepped out of my comfort zone and not let me fear take over.  
Our Riverton Club's 2016 Youth of the Year, Naumu, has been a member for seven years. She's participated in many programs including Junior Staff, Pihcintu Choir and Keystone Club. Naumu has performed over 150 hours of community service this year and plans to attend the University of Indiana in the fall to become a youth counselor.
Through hard times and bad days, the Club has always been there to make me laugh and put a smile on my face. 
For the last five years, the Club has been Zach’s home away from home. Zach jumps at any opportunity to give back and Keystone, the Club’s teen leadership program, has been a great way to do this. Zach recalls the satisfaction of being able to help clean the neighborhood and lift the spirits of residents after the devastating apartment fires in Lewiston a few years ago. Through Keystone, Zach has had many opportunities to make a positive contribution to his community. Zach’s friendly demeanor and helpful spirit make him a great role model for younger Club members. 

Zach is a senior at Edward Little High School and graduating in June. Zach plans to attend Mount Ida College to pursue a career in sports management. 

I never let any obstacles stand in my way. I always had the Boys & Girls Club by my side when things got tough. 
Tia literally grew up at the South Portland Clubhouse. An active member since the age of six, she joined as soon as she was old enough. Her family is a Club family – her mother, brother and uncle all attended the South Portland Club when they were young. Over the years Tia participated in just about every program the Club had and her favorite were the gym programs – capture the flag, dodgeball and scatter. Often she was one of the only girls in the gym which helped her toughen up.
Challenged with a speech impediment as a child, Tia endured bullying from her peers. The Club was a place where she could speak freely and not be judged. Through the Club she gained confidence and eventually started participating in pageants. During the pageants she shares her story of being bullied and how the Club was a safe and comfortable place. 
Tia is a senior at South Portland High School and is graduating in June. She plans to attend Northern Essex Community College and become an interpreter for the deaf community. 

Garrett, our Auburn/Lewiston Club's 2016 Junior Youth of the Year with Christian, our 2016 Maine Youth of the Year

Academic Success

Programs that help Club members graduate from high school ready for collage, trade school, military or employment.

Good Character + Citizenship

Programs that help Club members be engaged citizens involved in the community, register to vote and model strong character.

Healthy Lifesyles

Programs that help Club members adopt a healthy diet, practice healthy lifestyle choices and make a lifelong commitment to fitness.
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