The Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley is announced the 2017 “Youth of the Year” as Araceli Arreola. The “Youth of the Year” is an award for being recognized for outstanding achievements and leadership, as recommended by the Boys and Girls Club staff. This year, six teens were selected and interviewed by a panel of volunteer judges who chose the member who best encapsulates what the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita is all about.
Before signing up at the Boys and Girls Club, Araceli was not convinced she wanted to attend. Her parents divorced when she was younger and had moved several times over the years, and she felt like she didn’t have a steady home. To her, the club was just another temporary stop in her life. Her stepmom suggested they sign her up and she quickly realized that the Boys and Girls Club was much more than she imagined. She made new friends and found new mentors in the club family. She also gained many leadership opportunities for herself.
As a student at Hart High School, she regularly attends the Newhall Clubhouse. Each day she can be found mentoring younger members and tutoring in the Learning Center. She acts as team manager in the gym, helping to run the basketball and soccer leagues. She can be found greeting members and helping parents at the front desk as they arrive, and this year she was hired by the city’s Youth Employee Service Program.
As “Youth of the Year”, Araceli attended a series of events organized by the Los Angeles Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs. The events were designed to teach her public speaking and interview skills. Here, she had the opportunity to be apart of an A.B.C. public service announcement, along with the 22 other L.A. Alliance nominees. She had the honor of meeting Robert Downey Jr., receiving a scholarship, and will be taking the trip of a lifetime to China this summer.
Araceli is a shining example of how successful the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita is in providing hope and opportunity to our communities youth.