And the 2015 Youth of the Year Winner is…

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Announces 2015 Youth of the Year
Annual Fundraiser Raises Over $500,000 for the Local Non-Profit

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale is pleased to announce Allison Mertz, a junior at Pinnacle High School and seven-year member at the Thunderbirds Branch, has been named the organization’s 2015 Youth of the Year. The award was presented to Mertz at the non-profit’s Blue Door Ball which recently took place at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess raising over $500,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale.

Presented by Tiffany & Bosco and Great American Title, the event celebrated the top teenage Club members with more than 800 attendees including community leaders, supporters and esteemed guests. The evening boasted a silent and live auction, dinner and live entertainment while the teen finalists shared their personal stories of triumph and transformation.

Mertz’s story centered on the impact of the SMART Girls program, which teaches health, fitness, education and self-esteem enhancement to girls. It was through that program Mertz realized she was not the only teenage girl facing peer-pressure issues – since then she has helped lead the program and mentor young girls. She also implemented community service projects and managed volunteer efforts through the Club.

“Teens all around the country struggle with self-image, worry of others opinions and sometimes feel like they are just not good enough,” says Mertz. “The Club made me realize I wasn’t alone and that I’m perfectly imperfect – and that’s something for which I’ll be forever grateful.”

Mertz plans to use the scholarship money granted to her through the Youth of the Year program and General Dynamics C4 Systems toward earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy at Arizona State University. She will also advance to the statewide Youth of the Year competition in April.

The following Youth of the Year finalists were also honored at the Blue Door Ball:

  • Tatum Ayers, senior at Pinnacle High School and member at the Vestar Branch located in Phoenix
  • Leonel Bello, senior at Coronado High School and member at the Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch located in Scottsdale
  • Melissa Ervin, senior at Fountain Hills High School and member at the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch located in Fountain Hills
  • Leonel Reyes, senior at Arcadia High School and member at the Paiute Neighborhood Center located in Scottsdale, part of the Outreach Services program
  • Nicolas Schlip, sophomore at Saguaro High School and member at the Rose Lane Branch located in Scottsdale
  • Joshua Scott, sophomore at Westwood High School and member at the Lehi Branch located in Mesa on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
  • Lane Yazziesenior at Salt River High School and member of the Red Mountain Branch, located in Scottsdale on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
  • Kristen Yee, senior at Desert Mountain High School and member at the Virginia G. Piper Branch located in Scottsdale

Along with recognizing the youth, in memory of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s long-time supporters Ruth & Hartley Barker, the organization instated an award in their honor. The award was presented during the event to an outstanding community member or group who has impacted our community through their exceptional service to youth. This year’s award continued in the footsteps of the Barker’s impact and was presented to Mary Ellen & Robert McKee in honor of their service and commitment to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale for over 35 years.

Other major Blue Door Ball sponsors who joined Tiffany & Bosco and Great American Title were General Dynamics C4 Systems, Voya Financial, Tiffany & Co., Republic Services, UMB Bank, Chasse Building Team, First Bank, First Western Trust, AAA Landscaping, Desert Ridge Community Association, FirstService Residential, Print Source One, Rimmer Electric, Bulter Hansen, P.C., and Gallagher Kennedy.