We are very excited to announce that our very own Brian was named the State Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oregon on March 19, 2015. He competed against other youth from all over the state. He will go on to represent the state of Oregon at the regional level this summer. Brian was awarded a $5000 check that he said he will use for college.
Brian has been a member at the Wattles Club since the age of 6. 12 years later he is graduating from high school and has been accepted to two 4-year Universities. When he entered high school he never thought he would attend college. Brian credits the Boys & Girls Club for his success in high school, sports and the leader he has become. He says the Club inspired him to get active and take leadership roles. He’s the captain of his wrestling team, plays soccer and lacrosse, and has entered the Gresham Fire & Rescue cadet program.
Coming from a single parent family, Brian delt with poverty and financial hardships.
“Having to move every year because my mom couldn’t pay rent made it hard for me to get comfortable in my community,” said an emotional Cleveland High School senior. He said the Boys and Girls Clubs of Portland were always there to help with food, shelter, clothing and stability. "The Club gave me somewhere I could go after school. They gave me a roof over my head, food to eat, and a place to play."
“No matter how much I move around Portland, I always know that the Boys and Girls Club will be a place I can call home. The club has made me who I am today."
Bryan is a perfect example of someone that has come full circle in the Boys and Girls Club program.
*Due to personal reasons, John Grall, who was the winner of the City competion had to step down. Brian was the runner up in the City Youth of the Year competition, and graciously stepped in to fulfil the role.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland teamed up with the OHSU School of Pediatric Dentistry to provide free dental care for our Club youth during the Give Kids a Smile Day.
On February 28, at the OHSU Dental School, more than 160 of our youth from our Clubs and School Sites received free dental services. Youth and families were pre-screened to identified who were the most in need. They received cleanings, sealants or extractions and were given information about where they could have continued access to dental services. Clubs promoted the event throughout February providing information about the benefits of attending the event and reinforced the fact that oral health is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle.
The American Dental Association began the Give Kids A Smile program in 2003 as a way for dentists to join with others in the community to provide dental services to underserved children. The program initially began as a one-day event in February, but has since grown to local and national events year-round. Dentists and other team members volunteer their time, and services, to provide screenings, treatments and education to children throughout the United States.
The Youth of the Year competition was established in 1947 by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. It is the premier recognition program for Club members, who are selected for their service to the Club and community, academic success, strong moral character; life goals, poise and public speaking ability.
The winner selected from the city competition will represent Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland at the state-wide Youth of the Year competition in March. The Oregon Youth of the Year receives a college scholarship, then goes on to compete for the title of Western Regional Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year.
On January 20, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland held our annual City Youth of the Year competition. Six extraordinary youth, one from each Club, competed. Each of our youth gave speeches and were interviewed by a panel of judges. The theme for their speeches was what the Boys & Girls Clubs means to them. Below are some quotes from each candidate:
"The Wattles Boys & Girls Club has made me who I am today. When I entered high school, I didn't think I'd go to college. Now I'm a senior and I've been accepted to two four-year universities." -Bryan, Wattles Club
"I want to be a youth ambassador to help tackle some of the biggest issues that face youth today. I want to help develop the next generation of young people." -John, Jack Will & Rob Club
"Without it , I wouldn't be the man I am today... I owe myself to the Boys & Girls Club. I feel like it impacted me by giving me a safe place to go to every day after school." -Nathan, Meyer Memorial Club
"I feel like I am a part of the Boys & Girls Club, and my voice will always be heard." -Krystal, Regence Club
"I have gained invaluable leadership skills during my time in the Keystone Club program, and through this experience I now see myself as a leader to my peers and younger kids at the Club and in the community." -Nehemiah, Trail Blazers Club
"The Boys & Girls Club has been the experience of a lifetime. I really mean it when I say I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't come to this wonderful place." -Roselynn, Inukai Club
We are so proud of all of our candidates, and the judges had a very hard time selecting the winner. Our winner was John Grall from the Jack Will & Rob Club. He is a senior at Camas High School and has been a Club member for 11 years. His anticipated career is in politics.