2017 YOUTH OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES


BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF THE EAST VALLEY


2017 YOUTH OF THE YEAR   -  GILA RIVER BRANCH - SACATON

Bryson Watson is a tenacious young man who credits Boys & Girls Club with being a strong influence over his life. When he joined the Club, Bryson was often the target of bullies and never felt completely safe. Being a member of the Club changed this. Bryson believes the Club taught him how to stand up for himself and for others an invaluable skill that he is still passing on. Most importantly, the Club was a safe space where he didn’t have to fear the cruelty of his peers. Today, as a staff member in his Club, Bryson wants to inspire others to change their lives. He is dedicated to helping those in need and is grateful for the opportunity his Club provides him to do so.

In the 11 years that he has been a member of the Gila River Branch- Sacaton, Bryson has looked to the Club as a strong support system. The Boys & Girls Club appealed to Bryson because there were always positive people and opportunities for members. Bryson has thrived in the Club environment and one can see the impact of his devotion throughout the Club. 
Education is a key priority for Bryson. At Hamilton High School, he takes on a challenging curriculum. The honors classes he is enrolled in are enabling him to build a strong foundation for the rigorous education he will take to prepare him for a career in medicine. Bryson knows the importance of building healthy habits in youth and has a vision for all youth to agree with his logic. His influence over younger Club members is only the beginning of his campaign for encouraging kids to see fitness and being active as fun, rather than a chore.

Bryson knows the impact that a strong role model can have on a young person’s life. Consequently, he approaches his role as mentor with the utmost care and consideration. The younger members of the Gila River Branch-Sacaton look up to Bryson, a fact that he is keenly aware of. This knowledge is motivating him to paint a picture of success that all of them can be proud of and aspire to.



2017 YOUTH OF THE YEAR   -  GRANT WOODS BRANCH - MESA
Janae Slette is an amazing young woman who has gone above and beyond in school, community, and her Clubhouse. Since her first day at the Mesa Grant Woods Club, she has taken upon herself to be a role model among her peers both at the Club and Mesa Arts Academy.   

18 years in the making from when she was in Kindergarten to being a current Senior in Gilbert High School, Janae has been an outstanding member who participated in most leadership clubs such as Torch Club, Keystone, and Leaders in Training.

These leadership programs have allowed her to bolster her experiences in high schooLpursuingg other after school activities such as the swim team captain, VP of the Tiger Club, and even get an early start towards her college education through the ACE program.

Janae is very thankful the club is a part of her life and she is appreciative that the club has helped her find PURPOSE in life.





2017 YOUTH OF THE YEAR   -   QUEEN CREEK BRANCH

Tyler Ruof, a junior at Queen Creek High School credits the Queen Creek Boys & Girls Club with helping him to develop responsibility. The Club allowed him to use his interests and talents to excite others and this motivated Tyler in a powerful way. He took on leadership roles, serving for two years as the president of the Branch’s teen service and leadership group, Keystone and is currently a Program Specialist at his Club.

Each day, Tyler is continuing the cycle of positive youth development that contributed to what Tyler calls the “most rewarding and eye opening experience” of his life.








2017 YOUTH OF THE YEAR   -  COMPADRE BRANCH - CHANDLER 

Leonel Martinez has been an active club member of the Compadre Branch in Chandler for the past 7 years.  Leo participates in various aspects of the club ranging from being an LIT in Junior 

High, a Torch Club Member, Current President of Legacy Status Keystone Club, Staff member as well being involved in City of Chandler Youth Commissions. He is the Vice President of the Chandler Coalition on Youth Substance Abuse.  

Leo’s commitment to community service and his club was recognized by the people in his community when he was awarded the 2015 Volunteer of The Year for the City of Chandler. In addition, to all this Leo has assisted in planning two state Keystone Conferences, is a member of the Teen Steering Committee and currently sits on the National Keystone Steering Committee for Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Leo is a Senior at Chandler High and enrolled in Chandler-Gilbert Community College taking courses to get a head start on his college career. Leo has aspirations of being an engineer and to attend Arizona State University in Fall 2017.
   


2017 YOUTH OF THE YEAR   -  GILA RIVER BRANCH - KOMATKE 

Over the last 5 years that he has been a member of Boys & Girls Club, Gila River-Komatke Branch, Joshua Lahs has had a number of experiences that have shaped him into a young man who is dedicated to making a greater impact.

He credits the Club with teaching him the importance of setting a good example and establishing a positive self-image. Joshua feels like the Club has prepared him to do just that, the main reason he is proud to serve as his branch’s Youth of the Year candidate. He knows that as Youth of the Year, he is in a unique position to influence the younger generations of Club members with his positive outlook and genuine interest in their success.

Joshua plans to use his platform as Y
outh of the Year to promote his personal motto of “Never give up” with youth. From a young age, Joshua saw persistence in action, so that it eventually became ingrained in his mind. He wants to develop this type of thinking and energy in youth so that they can be the most prosperous generation to come. This paradigm shift is something that he hopes youth will apply to all areas of challenge in their lives, from their negative attitudes towards school to their interactions with peers and other adults.


2017 YOUTH OF THE YEAR   -  SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN BRANCH  - APACHE JUNCTION
Brandon Warner, an 8-year member of the Superstition Mountain Boys & Girls Club is motivated by his values and vision, both of which have been strengthened and supported by his experience with Boys & Girls Club. His local Club supports his independence and gives him opportunities to be a leader, a quality that transcends outside of Club walls to his volunteer work in the community.

Brandon is a hard worker who believes in empowering his peers to work for their dreams goals and to make a difference. He plans to use the Youth of the Year platform to show others the importance of being involved with the community.







2017 YOUTH OF THE YEAR   -  NORTH TEMPE BRANCH 

Leilani Hirimoto, a junior at McClintock High School and member of the North Tempe Branch states “I don’t know what my life would be like without the influence of Boys & Girls Club pushing me to do my best.” She is a firm believer in the difference a Boys & Girls Club can make in a young person’s life. The support and encouragement that is critical to positive youth development is one of her favorite parts of being a Club member.

No matter where life has taken her, she has always stayed connected to the Club. Leilani believes the programs and opportunities she has been a part of have helped prepare her to serve as a role model to our younger generation.





2017 YOUTH OF THE YEAR   -  LADMO BRANCH - TEMPE

Jazin Hodge of the Ladmo Branch-Tempe is a strong, youth activist. His time at Boys & Girls Clubs has only reinforced his ideas about our youngest generation being the solution to major change. “I am an ambitious young man because I find working diligently a key concept that everyone should embrace.” This statement is the essence of Jazin’s character and is the driving force behind his work as a Boys & Girls Clubs staff member.

His outstanding performance in sports and academics have given him a unique perspective to share with the younger Club members. He is exemplary of all the Club stands to instill in their members and Jazin is proud to carry that torch. Jazin is an accomplished young man whose leadership and example are a true testament to his Club experience.