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.”