“My time at the Youth Center has truly elevated me to become the strong young lady I am, knowing I can strive for anything I dream of accomplishing,” Bethany said of her Boys & Girls Club experience.

Bethany first joined the Boys & Girls Club-affiliated Youth Center in third grade. Fearful that she would not belong, Bethany was particularly insecure about her hearing aid. Yet instead of feeling left out, Bethany found her individuality was celebrated by Club staff and her peers.

“I was different and they did not shy away from this,” she said. “The mentors encouraged my uniqueness and taught me to never be ashamed.” Bethany was quick to get involved in many of the programs offered by her affiliated Boys & Girls Club, as well as helping her develop important life skills. She credits the Club with building her resiliency.

“To give up in the face of adversity is no longer an option. Resiliency has set me apart from individuals around me because I am willing to fight for my dreams.”

As National Military Youth of the Year, Bethany will serve as a spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of America representing thousands of military-connected youth.

Military Youth of the Year is a component of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year recognition program for Club members. On Oct. 6, Bethany will join five other finalists from civilian Clubs to vie for the National Youth of the Year honor and scholarship. Five judges individually interview each candidate and select the national winner on the basis of scholastic achievement, community service, and leadership ability. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $50,000 and a brand-new Toyota Corolla. 

Founded more than seventy years ago in 1947 as Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club. The Youth of the Year recognition program is presented by Toyota.

For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit www.youthoftheyear.org

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For 160 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,700 Clubs serve over 4.6 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of America on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE Boys & Girls Clubs of America

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