Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale has named Allison Mertz, a junior at Pinnacle High School and seven-year member at the Thunderbirds Branch, as the organization’s 2015 Youth of the Year.
The award was presented to Miss Mertz at the nonprofit’s Blue Door Ball, which recently took place at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess raising over $500,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale.
The evening boasted a silent and live auction, dinner and live entertainment while the teen finalists shared their personal stories of triumph and transformation.
Miss Mertz’s story centered on the impact of the SMART Girls program, which teaches health, fitness, education and self-esteem enhancement to girls. It was through that program Miss Mertz realized she was not the only teenage girl facing peer-pressure issues – since then she has helped lead the program and mentor young girls.
She also implemented community service projects and managed volunteer efforts through the club.
“Teens all around the country struggle with self-image, worry of others opinions and sometimes feel like they are just not good enough,” says Miss Mertz. “The club made me realize I wasn’t alone and that I’m perfectly imperfect – and that’s something for which I’ll be forever grateful.”
Miss Mertz plans to use the scholarship money granted to her through the Youth of the Year program and General Dynamics C4 Systems toward earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy at Arizona State University. She will also advance to the statewide Youth of the Year competition in April.
Along with Miss Mertz, the following Youth of the Year finalists were also honored at the Blue Door Ball:
- Tatum Ayers, senior at Pinnacle High School and member at the Vestar Branch located in Phoenix
- Leonel Bello, senior at Coronado High School and member at the Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch located in Scottsdale
- Melissa Ervin, senior at Fountain Hills High School and member at the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch located in Fountain Hills
- Leonel Reyes, senior at Arcadia High School and member at the Paiute Neighborhood Center located in Scottsdale, part of the Outreach Services program
- Nicolas Schlip, sophomore at Saguaro High School and member at the Rose Lane Branch located in Scottsdale
- Joshua Scott, sophomore at Westwood High School and member at the Lehi Branch located in Mesa on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
- Lane Yazzie, senior at Salt River High School and member of the Red Mountain Branch, located in Scottsdale on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
- Kristen Yee, senior at Desert Mountain High School and member at the Virginia G. Piper Branch located in Scottsdale
Other major Blue Door Ball sponsors who joined Tiffany & Bosco and Great American Title were General Dynamics C4 Systems, Voya Financial, Tiffany & Co., Republic Services, UMB Bank, Chasse Building Team, First Bank and First Western Trust.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale empowers 18,000 youth of all ages and backgrounds to develop the qualities needed to reach their full potential as productive, responsible citizens.
Branch locations and outreach sites provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship and athletics, and high-impact youth development programs during critical non-school hours. Located in cities and on Native American lands in the greater Scottsdale area, the Club promotes academic success, positive character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles.
For more information, visit www.bcgs.org.
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