Chandler teen earns Boys & Girls Clubs’ Youth of the Year honor SanTan Sun News

Chandler teen earns Boys & Girls Clubs’ Youth of the Year honor

July 5th, 2017 | by SanTan Sun News
Chandler teen earns Boys & Girls Clubs’ Youth of the Year honor
Youth
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By Leah Gilchrist

Chandler teen Leo Martinez has been selected as the Youth of the Year at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley.

Out of a group of eight teens, Martinez was selected for the honor, which is awarded to youths who exemplify the qualities of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle.

“It was an honor just to receive the award,” Martinez said.

Martinez is a recent graduate from Chandler High School and will attend Arizona State University in the fall to study graphic design.

The award, now in its 70th year, strives to honor and award some of the most inspiring youths across the country. Finalists for the title follow an application process that includes a series of three essays, an application and answering questions before a panel. Martinez said he didn’t think about applying for the award until a friend went through the application process.

Following his naming in the East Valley, Martinez went on to compete for the title for the state of Arizona. The state title comes with an award of a $5,000 college scholarship from the Boys & Girls Club.

“Leo embodies strong values in leadership, service, academic excellence and living a healthy lifestyle,” Mark Hanke, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley, said in a press release. “We are very proud to have Leo represent Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley at the Arizona Youth of the Year competition.”

Over his last seven years with the Boys & Girls Club, Martinez has developed leadership skills and has become a leader, encouraging both his peers and future generations to be their best. The Boys & Girls Club has opened doors for Martinez throughout his seven years with the program, allowing him to attend leadership conferences, college tours and community service projects.

The Boys & Girls Club of the East Valley honored Martinez at its 25th annual Youth of the Year Banquet, which was presented by the Jerry W. Brock Foundation.

The Hoag Family Trust, The Victoria Lund Foundation, and Maricopa Community Colleges provide funding for the scholarships for the candidates. The Victoria Lund Foundation presented Martinez with a $20,000 scholarship to further his education.

Martinez went on to compete at the state level for the Youth of the Year title. He was among the top four finalists, but did not take the title. The winner at the state level will go on to compete for the Southwest regional title and earn an additional $10,000 scholarship to pursue higher education, with a value renewable for up to four years, totaling $40,000.

“The Boys & Girls Club can be there for you, and will always be there for you,” Martinez said.

The five regional winners from around the country advance to Washington, D.C., in September for a chance to be named the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year. The finalist receives an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable for up to four years while pursuing higher education, and has the opportunity to meet the president at the White House.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley has 12 branches and the Mesa Arts Academy, serving more than 36,000 students with programs and opportunities for over 50 years.

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