Exceptional Martin County Teens Participate in Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year Program

Five outstanding teens are participating in the Youth of the Year program of Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County. The journey to being named National Youth of the Year begins locally and progresses to the state, regional and national levels. To achieve the title of Youth of the Year on any level, Club members must embody the values of leadership and service, academic excellence, and healthy lifestyles.

Each of Martin County’s five Clubs selects a Youth of the Year candidate to represent their club. This year’s exceptional candidates include 18-year-old Arius Onassis – Cole Clark Club in Hobe Sound, 16-year-old Jordin Preston –John & Marge Bolton Club in Port Salerno, 17-year-old Victor Bacerra – Bill & Barbara Whitman Club in Indiantown, 14-year-old Zakkary Bosma - H. Wayne Huizenga Club in Palm City, and 16-year old Dejah Horne – Boys & Girls Club in Stuart. These youth encourage their fellow Club members and peers to lead, succeed, and inspire; they are on the path to great futures and truly exemplify the critical impact Boys & Girls Clubs has on the lives of young people. While each candidate is vying for the honor to be named BGCMC’s Youth of the Year and move on to complete at the state level, candidates form a unique partnership and forge lifelong friendships based on shared experiences and common goals.

Candidates are busy participating in Youth of the Year week, designed to inform, prepare, and inspire; the activities include Leadership day, Candidate Judging day, and the Awards Ceremony. Leadership Day provided an opportunity to improve presentation and leadership skills and cultivate a lasting bond that only Youth of the Year share. Candidates started their day with a leadership workshop and toured the Indian River State College campus. Next stop was a working lunch with the leadership team of Treasure Coast Toyota of Stuart, at which they received feedback on public speaking. The teens then joined the Martin County Sheriff’s Office for afternoon Roll Call, and wrapped up their day with a community service project -reading to children at the Apple Tree Academy III in Palm City.

On Tuesday, February 21st, Club leadership received a proclamation for Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County’s Youth of the Year Day from the Martin County Board of County Commissioners. Later that day, Youth of the Year Candidates gathered at the John & Marge Bolton Club in Port Salerno for Judging Day. The teens presented to Club members, BGCMC staff, parents and family, and a panel of judges, sharing their experiences at the Clubs including participation in Keystone, a teen leadership program focusing on Academic success, career preparation and community service, and character and citizenship. Each candidate spoke passionately about their personal brand, career goals, and their hopes to become a spokesperson for our nation’s youth. After the presentations, they met indivdiiually with the judging panel for personal interviews.

Youth of the Year week will culminate with the Awards Celebration, Tuesday, February 28th, at Willoughby Country Club in Stuart, at which one deserving candidate will be named BGCMC Youth of the Year. Keynote speaker for the evening is Christine Leslie-Espinoza. Her life's philosophy is "We are what we think about."  Tim Luke, renowned auctioneer and president and co-owner of TreasureQuest Group, Inc , will emcee the evening’s festivities. Thanks to our sponsors Treasure Coast Toyota of Stuart, All About Achieving Learning Centers, Shock Socks and the Sancho-Vicens Family for their generosity. Each candidate will receive a new tablet compliments of Cross Country BBQ and the BGCMC Youth of the Year will receive a scholarship from the generosity of the Nancy A. McLernon Youth of the Year Endowed Scholarship. 

Youth of the Year has been Boys & Girls Clubs’ premier recognition program since 1947. Each year, one exceptional Club member is selected to be the National Youth of the Year, serving as both an exemplary ambassador for Boys & Girls Club youth and as a strong voice for all of our nation's young people.

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

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County

Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County provides award-winning youth development programs in literacy, character & good citizenship, and health & wellness for over 2,000 children and teens (6 to 18 years old) in Martin County. Clubs are located in Hobe Sound, Indiantown, Palm City, Port Salerno, and Stuart.

The membership fee of $35 per school year for children includes after-school hours on early release days, and a full day of programs on most days that schools are closed. Bus transportation to the Clubs is available from most public schools.  If you are interested in club membership, please visit any club or call 772-545-1255.

BGCMC is celebrating its 26th year of “building great futures” in Martin County, enabling youth and teens to reach their full potential by staying on track to graduate, demonstrating good character and citizenship, and practicing healthy lifestyles.

Learn more about how you can get involved at bgcmartin.org, facebook.com/BGCMartinCounty and https://twitter.com/bgcmartincounty.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year recognition program is presented by Disney, who has supported the youth advocacy organization for more than 50 years, empowering young people to reach their full potential and providing youth with access to the tools they need to build the great futures they imagine. Toyota, the Signature Sponsor of Youth of the Year, is dedicated to inspiring the next generations of engineers, thinkers and leaders who will help drive the American economy. Additional support is provided by University of Phoenix, a committed partner who has worked with Boys & Girls Clubs of America on many Academic Success initiatives, and the Taco Bell Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier partner for teen empowerment


For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (http://www.GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,200 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people annually 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, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize 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 at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.


# # #

Contact: Martha Ann Kneiss, Marketing & Development Manager

772.545.1255   |    561.389.9266