2018-19 YOUTH OF THE YEAR FINALISTS

Read the full announcement here

TISHA B.

TISHA B.

VIRGINIA G. PIPER BRANCH

Tisha is a senior at Chaparral High School and has been a Club Kid for4 years. Her hero or greatest influence is Hermoine Granger.

MICHAEL B.

MICHAEL B.

VESTAR BRANCH

Michael is a senior at Pinnacle High School and has been a Club Kid for 12years. His hero or greatest influence is his dad.

ALEXANDRA G.

ALEXANDRA G.

SCOTTSDALE CHARROS BRANCH

Alexandra is a junior at ASU Preparatory has been a Club Kid for 10 years. Her hero or greatest influence is her mother.

CALEB J.

CALEB J.

RED MOUNTAIN BRANCH

Caleb is a senior at Salt River High School and has been a Club kid for 10 years. His hero or greatest influence is his mom.

JAKE M.

JAKE M.

MARY ELLEN & ROBERT MCKEE BRANCH

Jake is a senior at Scottsdale Christian Academy and has been a Club Kid for 8 years. His hero or greatest influence is his grandpa.

TARA M.

TARA M.

THUNDERBIRDS BRANCH

Tara is a senior at Pinnacle High School and has been a Club Kid for 10 years. Her hero or greatest influence is her mom.

ELYSSA V.

ELYSSA V.

LEHI BRANCH

Elyssa is a senior at Westwood High School and has been a Club Kid for 8 years. Her hero or greatest influence is her step-mom.

JESSICA V.

JESSICA V.

HARTLEY & RUTH BRANCH

Jessica is a senior at Arcadia High School and has been a Club kid for 11 years. Her hero or greatest influence is her mother and older sister.

2018 ARIZONA STATE YOUTH OF THE YEAR

MARENA SEVER

On March 27, Marena Sever from Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Hilton Family Teen Center was named 2018 Arizona State Youth of the Year.

Selected from a field of 8 candidates from Clubs around the state, Marena was awarded a $5,000 scholarship and will go on to compete at the regional level this summer. Regional winners will go on to Washington, D.C., with the chance of being named Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year.

Marena has been a Club Kid for 10 years. At the Thunderbirds Branch, she discovered her love for creative expression and found a second family. Her best advice to today’s youth is, “It is human nature to make mistakes, but being able to learn and recover from them is crucial. View each day as a new learning experience and every mistake made as an opportunity for growth.” She will begin college in the fall, studying political science. Marena aspires to be a political commentator.

“If I hadn’t had the Club, the 8-year-old me would not have turned into the passionate, confident leader I am today. I will always carry with me everything the Club has taught me, which means I will always be a Club kid at heart,” said Marena. She began attending the Thunderbirds Branch ten years ago and speaks of the security and stability she found there that helped her through major transitions in her life.

On an average day at the Club, you can find Marena with a string of younger kids following close behind her as she leads them through various activities. Marena is very involved in theatre programs at the Club and Chaparral High School. She talks about the need for creative arts to be more prevalent in schools.

“Marena is a prime example of the work that Boys & Girls Clubs does, and the kinds of kids who walk out of our doors,” said Dr. Lisa Hurst, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale President and CEO. “Knowing Marena is an honor. Watching her and the other candidates present their stories with such poise and bravery filled me to the brim with joy.”