Youth of the Year to be selected

Posted on December 8, 2011 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The Boys & Girls Clubs 2011 Youth of the Year candidates are, from left to right: Gemma Bolaños, Anelyn Burquez, Ely Hernandez and Gene Truong

Four candidates have been selected for the Boys & Girls Clubs’ annual Youth of the Year award. The 2011 candidates will be honored at a celebration at the Maxwell Clubhouse on December 8 beginning at 6:30 p.m. where the winner will be announced and go on to compete at the regional level. Additionally, a Member of the Year from each Boys & Girls Club site will also be recognized at the celebration including Maxwell Clubhouse/ El Verano Elementary School, Sassarini Elementary School, Flowery Elementary School, Dunbar Elementary School and Altimira Middle School.

Youth of the Year is an initiative designed to promote and recognize teens who have developed sound character, leadership abilities and the willingness to give back to their community. The Club joins more than 4,000 other clubs across the country in acknowledging their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. More information about each candidate is as follows.

Ely (Elizabeth) Hernandez: Ely started at the Boys & Girls Club as a volunteer, helping 4th and 5th graders with homework and activities. She quickly became involved in teen activities too – volunteering with middle school, joining College Bound and participating in classes and workshops to help her prepare for college. Ely now volunteers four days a week. She has truly discovered her love of helping others and hopes to build a career in social services one day.
Gene Truong: From someone who occasionally dropped into the Boys & Girls Club to regularly volunteering, Gene has involved himself in all things Boys & Girls Club. He is active in College Bound and makes regular meetings to discuss a plan for the future. In the spring, Gene will be running a basketball clinic out of the Club for his senior project. Gene cares about supporting his community and helping kids.

Gemma Bolaños: Gemma has been an active volunteer for several years, both with the Girls Scouts and the Boys & Girls Club. Gemma quickly joined many of the programs the Club offers. She enrolled in College Bound, and encouraged several of her friends to join. She become a member of Keystone Club, and enlisted more of her peers to do the same. Gemma served as Keystone Club President last term, her dedication to which earned her a spot on the National Keystone Conference steering committee. Gemma is always coming up with ideas to support Keystone; all while continuing to connect new people to the Club.

Anelyn Burquez: Anelyn is one of the Club’s busiest members. She first joined the Boys & Girls Club to participate in volleyball, but started coming regularly for College Bound, Tuesday Sports Night, and Keystone Club. Alongside impressive grades and playing soccer, Anelyn serves as an officer for Keystone Club. She has plans to continue her service in the community by pursuing a career in the medical field.

Boys & Girls Club supporters and Sonoma residents Rick Cavalli, Lora Eichner, Lorna Sheridan, Tom Perkins and Andrew McDermott will act as Youth of the Year judges. Each application is screened and judged on leadership qualities and service exhibited through: Home and Family, Moral Character, Community, School, Service to Club, Life Goals, Obstacles Overcome, Essays, Poise and Public Speaking. The event is being sponsored by the August Sebastiani Foundation.

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