Youth of the Year Winner Announced

at Event Raising $435,000 for Boys & Girls Club

Sarah, a sophomore at Immokalee High School (a Boys & Girls Club of Collier County member since 2019) has been named the organization’s 13th annual Youth of the Year. The award celebrates leadership, community service and academic excellence.

At the March 1st dinner event, more than $435,000 was raised to support The Boys & Girls Club’s mission to empower all young people, “especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”

In addition, Schoen Foundation received the Giving is Living Award for its unwavering commitment and generosity, “which has not only transformed the lives of countless young individuals but has also left an indelible mark on our community,” the club announced.

Sarah is active in a Boys & Girls Club program to help young girls become successful women. Serving as an advocate on several issues, she creates educational videos or vlogs for social media. She also performs in school productions and participates in the Superintendent Student Advisory Council and Teens Against Dating Violence.

Sarah has participated in club dance classes; students perform shows throughout the community and atspecial club events. Sarah aspires tomajor in environmental studies at Spelman Collège with the goal of becoming a chief sustainability officer.

Runners up for this year’s Youth of the Year award were Lindsay and Jhyneya.

Lindsay is an eighth grade student at East Naples MiddleSchool and has been a member of Boys & Girls Club for seven years. She participates in several specialty programs, attended the Cal Ripken Senior Foundation Summer Camp and serves as secretary of the Torch Club, which works on service projects, such as neighborhood cleanups and food drives, education and fitness. She aspires to study business and plans to start a retail clothing business.

Jhyneya is a senior at Immokalee High and has been a club member for three years. She participates in Girl Scouts, Art Club and Girl Power Club. She plans to pursue career paths in both culinary arts and nursing.

All 10 Youth of the Year nominees successfully finished a year long, multistage process including essays and letters of recommendation, as well as making a presentation to, and being interviewed by, a panel of judges.

Keynote speakers at the dinner were past Youth of the Year candidates.

Josue spent 12 years with Boys & Girls Club and became a youth development professional with the club. With support and encouragement from club staff and volunteers, he enrolled in college and earned a bachelor’s degree in film from Full Sail University in Winter Park. He is now fulfilling his dream as a professional actor in movies and television shows, including “The Godfather of Harlem” and “FBI: Most Wanted.”

Meanwhile, Jason became a member of Boys & Girls Club in third grade and attended for nine years. He, too, became a youth development professional at the club and went on to graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. He currently is in graduate school, pursuing a master’s degree in divinity, while working part time as a minister in training at Howard University.

Boys & Girls Club is the largest out of school service provider in Collier County, serving 3,500 youth, ages 6 to 18, every year.

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