BGCC Youth of the Year
Youth of the Year 2021
Mark your calendar for the Virtual All Service Clubs and Youth of the Year lunch on March 12th at 12 noon. Students compete for scholarship awards from Benton Community Foundation, Pastega Foundation and Elks Club Foundation. YOY candidates win a laptop from Schupp Plemmons Cook Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors. More information and the zoom link will follow.
2021 Youth of the Year Candidates
Malik is a Junior at Crescent Valley High School. Malik joined the Club movement during middle school when his friend Jojo invited him to come try it out. Malik quickly found a safe and inviting space filled with staff that took genuine interest in his life. In the high school program, Malik met staff member Camila, who he immediately bonded with over shared experiences of bullying and racism. Malik credits Camila for always encouraging him to stand up, find his voice, and speak out about the bullying and racism he was experiencing on a daily basis. In the summer of 2020, Malik was one of the co-founders and participants in the Addressing Racism Through Youth Voice panel. He shared his story of experiencing racism through a Zoom panel discussion open to the community. His goal was to allow people to walk in his shoes as a way of building an understanding of what it is like to be a young person of color. After high school, Malik wants to continue his pursuit of music. It is his dream to take his music big, and to spread it around the world. His music is how he plans to spread awareness of social justice issues to listeners, support them in their own struggles, help them feel understood, and find their own voice.
Sam is a Senior at Crescent Valley High School. He came to the Club with hopes of learning new job skills and building his resume. Sam was quick to enroll for the Training Teens for Tomorrow (T3) job training program. Through T3, Sam was placed in a paid apprenticeship position at the Garfield Gecko Club after-school program. What Sam learned from histime at Gecko Club was the importance of showing up with a positive attitude. Through his real-world job experience, he realized how powerful attitude and positive energy impact children and shape their own self confidence and senses of worth. Through his work at Garfield, Sam was able to convince staff to let him create a film club, encouraging the students to lead the design and implementation. This project provided Sam with a hands-on experience that when an inclusive and engaging environment is created, youth are free to bring their creativity and ideas. As a result, the Film Club wrote and produced a movie. Sam’s biggest takeaway from Gecko Club is that by showing up every day with a positive and welcoming attitude, he was able to encourage the kids to take the risk of trying something new, and engage at a deeper level. After high school, Sam plans to go on his mission through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He does not yet know where he will be going, but he knows his positive attitude will create meaningful experiences with everyone he meets.
Abran is a Junior at Corvallis High School. His journey with the Club began in middle school when he came to play basketball with his friends after school. Transitioning into high school, the Club became Abran’s place to study and do homework for his math classes. He found support in the StudyCramJam program and Pam, a staff that ran the program at the time. Working with Pam, Abran was able to raise his grades and is currently maintaining 3.8 GPA – something he never thought was possible when he began his high school career. Through StudyCramJam with Pam, another major takeaway for Abran is the importance of mental health. Abran learned that while good grades and doing well in school should be a priority, mental breaks and self-care are a vital necessity to ensure that he can always be on top of his game. After high school, Abran is considering a wide variety of careers such as welding, finance, and biochemistry.