“The Club gave me a peaceful place to be; it became a second home and a second family,” Jaime Valadez, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands’ 2017 Youth of the Year said in a speech.
On Thursday, February 16, six Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands’ (BGCM) members competed to represent the organization at the state level Youth of the Year competition.
Representatives from each of the Clubs included:
• Alice Christensen, Carter Lake Unit
• Destiny Howard, Westside Unit
• Janaeco Richard, North Omaha Unit
• Alexis Rocha, Council Bluffs Unit
• Leon Stubblefield, Mt. View Unit
• Jaime Valadez, South Omaha Unit
Jaime Valadez, freshman at Omaha South High School, was named Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands’ 2017 Youth of the Year.
Youth of the Year (YOY) recognition is the highest honor a Club member can achieve and is a nationally recognized program through Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The program promotes and celebrates a youth’s service to their Club and community, academic performance and contributions to family and spiritual life. The program distinguishes youth who have overcome enormous odds and demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments.
“I aspire to become a leader and to set an example for my little brother and my peers,” Valadez said.
Valadez and other Club members competing, spoke about their Club experience, personal brand and their vision for America’s youth. They also went through an interview process with each of the judges.
“The South Omaha Boys & Girls Club is one of the few places I can say that I trust and always feel safe in while I am here,” Valadez said. “I don’t have to worry about being hurt or attacked in any way; it also provides me with a place to express who I am and who I wish to be later on in life.”
Valadez will go on to compete at the State level on March 16 and 17 in Sioux City, Iowa. If selected as Nebraska’s State Youth of the Year he will move on to Regionals in Chicago to compete for one of five spots that go to Washington, D.C., to earn the coveted title of National Youth of the Year.
Historically, the five regional winners have been honored at a Congressional Breakfast on Capitol Hill and have a chance to meet the President of the United States at the White House.
Tupperware Brands Corporation, the programs national sponsor, awards each state winner a $1,000 college scholarship, each regional winner a $10,000 college scholarship and the National Youth of the Year receives an additional college scholarship totaling up to $50,000 from The Rick and Susan Goings Foundation.