Arizona Alliance of Boys and Girls Club name Youth of the Year

Winners of the state Youth of the Year awards Iyana L. Jameson and Benjamin Lee Ravert. (Submitted photo)

Iyana L. Jameson and Benjamin Lee Ravert were awarded state Youth of the Year honors at the Annual Breakfast — which the Arizona Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs organized and Fiesta Bowl Charities presented — Tuesday, March 26 at Warehouse 215 in Phoenix.

These winners were among nine who were up for Arizona State Youth of the Year. Tisha Bhatnagar, 17-year-old member of Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, was another nominee, according to a press release.

Ms. Jameson, a 17-year-old from the I.G. Homes Branch of Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix, was named the 2019 Arizona State Youth of the Year. Mr. Ravert, a 16-year-old from Davis-Monthan AFB Youth Program, received the 2019 Arizona State Military Youth of the Year top honors.

“The club gave me distraction and support,” Ms. Jameson said, in a prepared statement, about the help she received in overcoming bullying and self-esteem issues.

She is active in Keystone at her club and is a talented performer in theater, dance, and voice. Ms. Jameson sang the National Anthem to open the Annual Breakfast.

“The Boys and Girls Club is a place where you can find role models, guidance and support,” Mr, Ravert said in a prepared statement, sharing that his stepdad is deployed to Afghanistan. He thanked the club for filling that void for him through many deployments.

Mr. Ravert attributes Keystone Club, Triple Play, Passport to Manhood and Junior Staff Club programs for guiding him to be the leader he is today, a release states.

Selected from a field of nine candidates from clubs around the state, Ms. Jameson and Mr. Ravert each won $5,000 in scholarships from the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and will go on to compete at the regional level in their respective categories.

Regional winners will go on to Washington, D.C., for the BGCA National Youth of the Year competition.

“For over 70 years, Youth of the Year has brought awareness, hope, and opportunity to our nation’s most deserving and awe-inspiring young people,” Andy Reese, President of Arizona Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs, said in a prepared statement.

“This program showcases what our Clubs are all about, and reminds us just how incredible young people are when given the opportunity and ability to reach for their dreams and create their own great futures.”

All of the candidates previously competed at local levels to represent their home club and Boys and Girls Club organization before moving on to the state competition.

The candidates for the state Youth of the Year award. (Submitted photo)

Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Youth of the Year Program is a premier youth development recognition experience celebrating academic success, examples of leadership, and overall club involvement.

Teens prepared three essays, participated in multiple rounds of interviews with a panel of judges and delivered a three-minute speech highlighting their club experience, vision for America’s youth and their personal brand.

Judging this year’s competition was Ann Smith of Toyota Financial Services; Trisha Smith of Topgolf; and Scott Leightman of Fiesta Bowl.

Other Arizona State Youth of the Year candidates included:

  • Aqib Adnan, 15-year-old member of Boys and Girls Clubs of Sierra Vista;
  • Arsenio Bojorquez Castillo, 18-year-old member of Boys and Girls Clubs of Colorado River;
  • Destiny Delgado, 18-year-old member of Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson;
  • Camille Hartman, 17-year-old member of Boys and Girls Clubs of the East Valley;
  • Jazmin R. Richard, 17-year-old member of Boys and Girls Club of Aha Macav; and
  • Aurora Smith, 17-year-old member of Boys and Girls Club of Flagstaff

The Arizona State Youth of the Year Breakfast is one of the many youth focused programs supported by Fiesta Bowl Charities with $2.5 million in charitable donations in the 2018-2019 grant cycle.

“We are honored to support the Arizona State Youth of the Year Program with Boys and Girls Club for the 15th year in a row,” Jose Moreno, vice president of marketing and community relations for Fiesta Bowl Charities, said in a prepared statement.

“At the core of Fiesta Bowl Charities, we support groups that have a focus on youth, sports and education. The Youth of the Year Program has such a great impact on the lives of these young people, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for them.”

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