Pasadena High School freshman Ivonne Gonzalez, 14, has been selected as the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadenaâ€™s 2014 Youth of the Year, and will represent the Club next month as she joins 27 other Boys & Girls Club members in vying for the title of Los Angeles County Youth of the Year. Each nominee represents one of the 28 Clubs that comprise the Boys & Girls Clubs of Americaâ€™s Los Angeles County Alliance.
Youth of the Year is the BGCAâ€™s premier youth recognition program and recognizes membersâ€™ outstanding contributions to their family, school, community, and Club, as well as personal challenges and obstacles they have overcome. Youth of the Year encourages Club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles, and practicing good character and leadership. The program is sponsored by Tupperware Brands Corporation.
Ivonne attends the Clubâ€™s Slavik branch, where she is a member of the Blue Rays swim team and serves as president of Keystone, a leadership club that promotes service to club and community. As a member of Keystone, she has participated in Heal the Bayâ€™s annual Coastal Cleanup Day; the annual Toys for Tots toy drive, and helped organize a donation drive for U.S. troops stationed overseas. Outside the Boys & Girls Club, Ivonne is an avid practitioner of Tae Kwon Do and is one belt away from receiving her black belt. She also plays softball and previously served as acting vice president of the Associated Student Body at Wilson Middle School. She graduated middle school with the ASB Vice President Award, Excellence in Math & Science award, and Academic Achievement Award in English.
â€œWe are so very proud of Ivonne. She brings such joy and energy to the Club; it is an honor that she will represent Pasadena as she represents the success we want for all our kids,â€ said Rachel Estrada, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena.
The first round of judging takes place on February 21, with the winner being announced March 19 at the Nokia Theater at LA LIVE in downtown Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County winner will advance to the state competition. State winners, who each receive a $1,000 scholarship, will then compete at the regional level. Finally, the countryâ€™s five regional winners, who are each awarded a $10,000 scholarship, will travel to Washington, D.C. where the National Youth of the Year will be named. The National Youth of the Year will receive a scholarship worth up to $50,000 and will have the opportunity to meet with the President of the United States in the White House.
â€œReceiving the National Youth of the Year title is the highest honor that can bestowed on a Boys & Girls Club member,â€ commented Estrada.
The National Youth of the Year serves a one-year term as a representative of the more than four million young people served by some 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide and on U.S. military installations worldwide. Duties include addressing various groups on important youth issues and the role Boys & Girls Clubs play in changing young lives.
About the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena
The Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena was founded in 1937 and today serves more than 4,000 youth, ages 6-18, annually. Its mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need the Club most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. The Club promotes the health, education, social, vocational, and character development of community youth and helps them build self-assurance and develop leadership skills while reinforcing positive values.
The Club offers programming in five areas to help its members develop into well-rounded adults: Education and Career Development; Character and Leadership Development; Health and Life Skills, Arts, and Sports, Fitness and Recreation. For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena, visit its website at www.bgcpasadena.org.