Error message

  • Notice: Undefined index: taxonomy_term in similarterms_taxonomy_node_get_terms() (line 518 of /home/westvalleyview/public_html/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 0 in similarterms_list() (line 221 of /home/westvalleyview/public_html/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in similarterms_list() (line 222 of /home/westvalleyview/public_html/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).

W.V. teens vie for Youth of the Year

Error message

  • Notice: Undefined index: taxonomy_term in similarterms_taxonomy_node_get_terms() (line 518 of /home/westvalleyview/public_html/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 0 in similarterms_list() (line 221 of /home/westvalleyview/public_html/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in similarterms_list() (line 222 of /home/westvalleyview/public_html/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).

Boys & Girls Clubs members in running for honor

Two teenagers who are members of Boys & Girls Clubs in the West Valley are sharing their stories as they seek the Youth of the Year title for the Metro Phoenix clubs.

The winner, chosen from among 13 candidates representing each of the clubs, will be named March 19 at the annual Today’s Kids, Tomorrow’s Stars gala.

Those competing include Isabel Castillo of Avondale’s Tri-City Thornwood branch and Brianna Inda of Tolleson’s Woodrow C. Scoutten club.

The youths involved in the after-school program were selected by club staffers and members before undergoing a 16-week training course involving team building and presentation skills.

Each will have three minutes at the gala to impress the judges with their story of success despite adversity.

Isabel, 16, of Avondale said she will talk about how she’s worked to build her confidence and self-worth after overcoming depression and bullying.

She said she became involved in the Boys & Girls Clubs 11 years ago when she was struggling with the divorce of her parents, Selicino Castillo and Elanca Martinez.

With the help of the club, I know I can get through anything,” Isabel said.

A junior at Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Isabel said she goes to the club every day after school and completes her homework, then helps staffers and interacts with other youths taking advantage of gym, art and computer activities.

Evelyn McNeill, the club’s director, said the club serves 220 youths ages 5 to 18 from Avondale, Goodyear and Tolleson.

Isabel has been involved with recruiting more teenagers to the club as well as fundraising and community service projects.

She’s done an awesome job just being a leader,” said Paul Cervantes, teen specialist at the club. “She is a person little kids can lean on.”

Isabel plans to attend college in New Mexico, where she will study criminology and psychology.

Brianna, 18, who lives in west Phoenix and is a senior at Copper Canyon High School in Glendale, said attending the Tolleson club has had a “huge impact” on her life.

She started going to the club as a sixth-grader after she was signed up for a summer program by her parents, Sandra and Edwardo Idna.

From day one, it was so welcoming,” Brianna said. “You always have a sense of belonging.”

For her gala speech, Brianna said she will talk about accepting responsibilities at a young age, including taking care of her brother and sister and helping her parents learn English.

Brianna said she goes to the club at least three times a week and works with a teen leadership group to arrange events and holiday dinners or help youths with their homework.

The kids really love her,” said Manny Pedia, unit director at the club.

With more than 400 members, the Tolleson club is the fourth largest in metropolitan Phoenix, Pedia said.

Last year, the club served about 29,000 dinners to the youths, he said.

Brianna plans to attend Arizona State University, where she will study engineering.

The Youth of the Year receives a scholarship and goes on to compete in a national contest.

The fundraising gala to be held at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix will also honor Bob and Renee Parsons as the group’s Champions of Giving.

Bob Parsons founded GoDaddy and he and his wife formed the Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation, which has made charitable contributions to organizations around the Valley.

For information, visit www.bgcmp.org.

 

Glenn Gullickson can be reached at ggullickson@westvalleyview.com.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet
Comment Here