22 Jan Youth of the Year – Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada
The Youth of the Year Program is designed to promote and recognize teen members’ service to the Boys & Girls Clubs, community, academic performance and contributions to family and spiritual life.
Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. The program empowers young people to reach their full potential and provides youth with access to the tools they need to build the great futures they imagine.
We don’t always like change, and that was how Marco Meraz felt the first time he walked into one of our Clubs. At 14 years old, shy and afraid to talk to anyone, Marco felt insecure that he just wouldn’t fit in.
After becoming a regular visitor to the Club, he became more involved and familar with the teen programs including Stay Smart; which gives an indepth look at the problems confronting our communities around drug and alchol abuse. These are challenges that affected many of Marco’s peers and their families. The program gave him the tools to successfully avoid falling into that trap.
Being part of Goals for Graduation program gave Marco the direction he needed to set goals for his future success. One of those goals was competing for Youth of the Year, which he did two consecutive years in a row.
This past year Marco competed against 65 Club members, securing a spot against local 10 members, then advancing as 1 of 5 finalists. He would go onto win the region and attend the Advanced Leadership Institute in Atlanta, GA.
As Marco shared with us, “because of all the opportunities and support I get from the club, it has become a second home for me and importantly a safe place. The guidance I recevie from the staff is something that has truly given my experience at the club a whole different meaning. I will forever be grateful for the way this clubhouse has changed my life.”
After earning the title of 2017 Youth of the Year. Marco received numerous BGCSNV scholarships, which will pay for his entire four years of college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.