On Friday, March 5th, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Anaheim-Cypress honored Youth of the Year Joecelyn S. and Junior Youth of the Year Ava M. at the Orange County Youth of the Year Ceremony. The theme of the event was “Celebrating BRIGHT Futures” and was held virtually. Joecelyn and Ava were amongst fifteen additional exemplary Orange County Boys & Girls Club members recognized at the event for their leadership skills, involvement in Club programming, and overall positive attitudes.
Ava M. is an eighth grader at Lexington Junior High. She is a self-proclaimed “Vice President of everything” and participates in Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Anaheim-Cypress’s virtual programming daily. She is involved in Debate Club, Video Creation Club, Cooking Club, Leadership Club, and many others. Ava credits the Club for providing her with friendships and confidence amidst the pandemic and hopes to run for Youth of the Year in the future.
Joecelyn was selected to participate in the county-wide competition against six other teens for the title of Orange County Youth of the Year. She is a sophomore at University High School and has been a member with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Anaheim-Cypress for over five years. As Keystone Club President, Joecelyn has played an instrumental role in leading activities for Club teens. As a student with moderate hearing loss, Joecelyn has learned to become an advocate for herself and others. She worked with her Club to make modifications for hearing impaired students and led American Sign Language classes for her peers. Joecelyn plans to go to a university to receive her teaching credential after high school to educate the deaf and hard of hearing.
As part of Joecelyn’s Youth of the Year judging process, she had to submit multiple essays to Boys & Girls Clubs of America, as well as interview with a panel of judges and recite a speech about her commitment to her Boys & Girls Club and the community. Joecelyn received a $500 scholarship courtesy of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Anaheim-Cypress for her achievements. At the conclusion of the ceremony Giselle A. from Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley was crowned the Orange County Youth of the Year. She will move on to represent the county at the state competition in April. Winners progress to the regional and national level. The National Youth of the Year serves as an exemplary ambassador for Boys & Girls Club youth and must embody the values of leadership and service, academic excellence, and healthy lifestyles.
Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premiere recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club members. Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles. Youth of the Year encourages Club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles and contributing to their communities. Youth of the Year honorees such as Joecelyn and Ava are shining examples and living proof that great futures start at Boys & Girls Clubs.