Meet LJ: 2020 Southwest Youth of the Year

Meet LJ:
2020 Southwest Youth of the Year

LJ_Southwest YOY

 

See LJ's Speech

  • Years at the Club: 11.5
  • School & Grade Level: Highline High School, 10th
  • Activities & Interests: Football, Music, Hanging out in the Teen Center

 

[The Club has] helped shape the person I am today by not only giving me opportunities, but by giving me great role models and by surrounding me with people who see greatness within me. The Club also taught me values such as integrity, perseverance, resilience, and altruism.

 

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Meet Katrin: 2020 Ballard Youth of the Year

Meet Katrin:
2020 Ballard Youth of the Year

Katrin_Ballard YOY

 

See Katrin's Speech

  • Years at the Club: 9
  • School & Grade Level: Ballard High School, 12th
  • Activities & Interests: Keystone Club (high school community service group), Turkeyfest (annual Thanksgiving Club event), Sail Sandpoint (Club field trip as a kid), Cross Country & Track, Ballard High Marching Band

 

[The Club has] overall supported me & was a place to be safe & have fun. I think [the Club] has helped me gain a lot of confidence.

 

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Meet Liya: 2020 Wallingford Youth of the Year

Meet Liya:
2020 Wallingford Youth of the Year

Liya_Wallingford YOY

 

See Liya's Speech

  • Years at the Club: 11
  • School & Grade Level: Roosevelt High School, 11th
  • Activities & Interests: Keystone Club (high school community service group), Teen Late Night, Reading Explorers, Parents Night Out, Film Club, Theatre, UNICEF, ASL Club

 

[The Club has] made me a lot more comfortable with who I am outside of the Club… it's made me more extroverted and social.

 

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Meet Zach: 2020 North Seattle Youth of the Year

Meet Zach:
2020 North Seattle Youth of the Year

Zach_North Seattle YOY

 

See Zach's Speech

  • Years at the Club: 8
  • School & Grade Level: Ingraham High School, 10th
  • Activities & Interests: Torch Club (middle school community service group), Keystone Club (high school community service group), Computer Science Club, Violin, Reading

 

I joined the Club when I first moved to Seattle. Moving is always hard so when I knew I had a place to go to make new friends, I was very thankful. Plus, the Club also taught me many skills that I still cherish no matter how small, like always saying ‘please'.

 

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Meet Enzo: 2020 Sammamish Youth of the Year

Meet Enzo:
2020 Sammamish Youth of the Year

Enzo_Sammamish YOY

 

See Enzo's Speech

  • Years at the Club: 4.5
  • School & Grade Level: Eastlake High School, 11th
  • Activities & Interests: Summer Camp, Chess Club, Latinos Unidos (school program), Basketball

 

[The Club] changed me from a self-conscious, shy, and quiet kid into an expressive, joyous, and caring teen.

 

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Meet Elisa: 2020 Rotary Youth of the Year

Meet Elisa:
2020 Rotary Youth of the Year

Elisa_Rotary YOY

 

See Elisa's Speech

  • Years at the Club: 11
  • School & Grade Level: Glacier Peak High School, 12th
  • Activities & Interests: CIT (Counselor-In-Training) program, SMART Girls, Summer Brain Gain, Cross Country, Snohomish for Equity Youth Committee

 

The Boys & Girls Club has taught me a lot about patience, understanding, and youth culture / communities. Rotary has given me many opportunities to express myself and learn more about what I want to do as I grow older.

 

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Meet Lila, Olympic Hills Junior Youth of the Year

Meet Lila, Olympic Hills Junior Youth of the Year

Lila

Meet Lila

 

Lila is a fifth-grader at Olympic Hills Elementary Boys & Girls Club. She has been coming to the Club after school and during the summer for 6 years. At the Club, Lila has come out of her shell and taken on a leadership role.

Lila’s Club story starts in the middle of her Kindergarten school year when she moved and had to change schools. A shy Spanish-only speaker, Lila had a hard time making new friends at school. According to Lila, the Club is where she was “welcomed with open arms”.

Lila

On her first day, a staff mentor spent time communicating with her and introduced her to other Spanish speakers at the Club. Though language differences could have stopped her from connecting with people, Lila shared “I became friends with all the kids I met that day.”

Through her time at the Club, Lila has appreciated having a safe place to go after school and learning valuable lessons like how to be there for people. She thanks the Club for helping her to manage difficult issues like “friendship, bullies, [and] racism.”

Olympic Hills Junior Youth of the Year

 

On June 6, Lila was awarded Junior Youth of the Year for her leadership and kindness!

Lila’s Club mentor, Ramsey Jester, shared: “Lila is the leader our world needs and a Club member we are proud to call our Youth of the Year.”

Lila was one of 18 other Club kids across greater Seattle who was honored at our annual Junior Youth of the Year recognition event. She overcame her fear of public speaking by delivering her inspiring speech for a crowd of over 100 community members.

Lila has always been a great helper and example for other kids at the Club. She stacks floor mats, washes tables, and cleans up from activities without even being asked. She has strong relationships with other Club kids, manages conflict with maturity, and according to Ramsey, “makes our Club a better place.”

Congratulations to Lila for winning Junior Youth of the Year, and thank you for being such a wonderful role model for Club, staff, and community members alike.

Vanessa’s Story

The Power of a Dedicated Mentor

Vanessa first walked through the doors of the Boys & Girls Club when she was eight years old – shy, uncertain of herself, and looking for math tutoring. What she discovered within the Club led her on a 10-year journey from Club kid to Youth of the Year to Club staff member. Now, having just earned her doctorate in clinical psychology, Vanessa attributes much of her success to the mentorship, belonging, and opportunities she received at the Club.

“It was at the Club where I learned what it means to belong, to be embraced by community, and to be supported in making my dreams come true. Ms. Patrick [Carter], the Director of the [Rotary] Club, was my champion. She pushed me out of my shell to dream bigger and reach further. Ms. Patrick knew what I needed and helped me to develop the qualities to get me there. She changed my life.”

Ms. Patrick and Vanessa Hara at LunchBreak 2019

Ms. Patrick knew what I needed and helped me to develop the qualities to get me there. She changed my life.

When Vanessa entered high school, Ms. Patrick encouraged her to join the Rotary Keystone Club, a service and leadership program for high school students. It was in this group where Vanessa learned that her voice mattered, and when she was selected to attend a national leadership conference in Washington, D.C. She was encouraged to step outside her comfort zone to represent her local Club. This life-changing experience propelled her on a path to being awarded Youth of the Year and inspired her to become a staff member at the Club.

“A couple months ago, I ran into a student who I worked with when I was on staff at the Club. It took me a moment to recognize her, and when I did, I remembered a shy, quiet third grader who grew into a bold and successful young woman. Her story is so familiar to me because her story is my story. I was that shy third grader who would have retreated without the support of the Boys & Girls Club. She told me I changed her life.”

Vanessa Hara giving a speech at LunchBreak 2019

Her story is so familiar to me because her story is my story. I was that shy third grader who would have retreated without the support of the Boys & Girls Club. She told me I changed her life.

The Boys & Girls Club gave Vanessa access to college scholarships and set her on a path to earning a doctorate in clinical psychology. Vanessa passed her licensing exam last month and is looking forward to beginning her practice soon. She is a testament to what Boys & Girls Clubs of King County hopes to achieve for all youth who step through our doors, and we are so proud be alongside her as she achieves her dreams.

See Vanessa's Speech at LunchBreak 2019: