2020 Youth of the Year Competition had six astonishing Chicago teens all vying for the ability to represent the nearly 20,000 youths of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago (BGCC) has been serving Chicago families since 1902. Offering youths between the ages of 6 to 18 a better chance to become well-rounded and successful adults. They have filled the after-school hours with academic, social, and leadership activities for students in some of Chicago’s most challenged neighborhoods. The Chicago youths are matched with mentors, giving the children a safe place to learn, grow, and succeed in the 21st-century world and workplace.
BGCC held the Youth of the Year (YOY) award 2020 at Navy Pier’s Aon Grand Ballroom. At the event, six finalists all vied for the nonprofit’s YOY. YOY is the highest local honor, presented annually to one of the 20,000 youth served citywide in recognition of leadership, service, and academics.
The exceptional six Chicago area teenagers (pictured above) all took the stage. They shared their stories of how the BGCC staff and programs have helped them with personal growth along with beginning involved within their own communities. The mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, attended the inspiring event and congratulated the standout teenagers for their remarkable work and service to the youth in their neighborhoods.
“I’m incredibly honored to be Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago’s Youth of the Year, and I’m so grateful to my Club mentors, friends, and family who helped me work toward this achievement,” said Camila S. Youth of the Year winner.
An honor roll student and current CPS senior, Camila announced her plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania as a pre-med student. She also shared how her BGCC dance program helped in building her confidence and prepared her for a leadership role within that same program.
The other finalists all spoke to how the BGCC has made a positive impact on their lives. One teen said in the face of danger within his community; he knew that the BGCC was a safe haven. Another teen said that when the world made her feel small and voiceless, her BGCC pushed her into a leadership role as a mentor.
As the winner at the local Chicago Club level, Camila will participate in the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Illinois State competition with the opportunity to continue to the regional and national competitions.
Camila said she is incredibly honored to be Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago’s Youth of the Year and grateful to her Club mentors, friends, and family who helped me work toward this achievement. She also added the True Value Club is so meaningful to kids and teenagers in her neighborhood.
Learn more about The Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago at https://www.bgcc.org.
-LaToya Wright, Contributing Writer