Mariarely Sanchez, a junior at Malibu High School and a Boys & Girls Club of Malibu (BGCM) member for four years, has been named the 2013 BGCM Youth of the Year.
The Youth of the Year event was held at the BGCM where the candidates went before a panel of judges and each shared a personal three minute speech about the profound impact the club has had on their lives. Judges included Malibu Mayor Lou La Monte and BGCM board members Jessica Newman and Madison Hildebrand.
The title of Youth of the Year is given to students who make outstanding contributions to family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as overcome personal challenges and obstacles.
Sanchez volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club, where she works as a high school intern mentoring her younger peers.
As a first generation high school graduate in her family, Sanchez credits the BGCM for helping her create a pathway to college and empowering her to begin and new cycle of education, prosperity and civic engagement.
Sanchez lives in Los Angeles and begins her commute at 5 a.m. every day to Malibu.
“Where I live, college is not a reality. At the club, I learned college can be for a kid like me and what I need to accomplish to get there. The club has opened my eyes to the reality of a college education and has taught me the true meaning of selfless giving and the impact we can make in the lives of others. It is hard to imagine where I would be and what my future would hold without The Club; it is like a family to me,” Sanchez said.
On Feb. 6, Sanchez will compete against Youths of the Year from the 27 other Boys & Girls Clubs in Los Angeles County for the opportunity to progress to the California Youth of the Year competition in Sacramento.
In 2011 Sanchez’s predecessor, Violet Miehle, was the first BGCM Youth of the Year to win the Los Angeles County title as well as move to the state competition where she was later named the 2011 Boys & Girls Clubs of America, California Youth of Year.
If Sanchez progresses to the state wide competition and wins, she will compete for the title of Pacific Region Youth of the Year and a $10,000 scholarship. The five regional winners will advance to Washington D.C., in September 2013, to compete for the title of BGCA’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year receives an additional $50,000 college scholarship and is installed by the President in the Oval Office ceremony.
Learn more about the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu Teen Center, visit www.malibuyouth.org.