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Kid Stories

2024 Youth of the Year

By February 20, 2024March 18th, 2024No Comments

We’re thrilled to announce our newest Youth of the Year, Jayson!  

Jayson has been a leader and role model at his Club for many years. He has big dreams for his future—to become a commercial pilot—and a plan to get there.  

Jayson’s Plan to Follow His Dreams

  1. Get accepted to his dream college: Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. 
  1. Find scholarships to pay for college.  
  1. Learn to navigate and fly a plane. 
  1. Get a job as a pilot with a commercial airline. 

Jayson dreams of breaking down barriers in the sky, especially for other Latinos like him.  

“I want to build a future where kids aren’t scared of entering into unknown waters. I want to build the roads for many future generations to follow,” he shared.  

The Youth of the Year competition is an opportunity for Club members to be recognized for their leadership and personal growth. They spend hours preparing their applications, practicing their public speaking skills, and writing persuasive essays as part of the competition, which culminates in a judging session with community leaders. As an organization, we’re proud to celebrate their hard work and dedication to creating a brighter future for their communities.  

Jayson has been a leader in his Club for many years, even serving as Vice President and President of the Keystone Club (a leadership and service organization) at Mar Vista Gardens. When you support Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica, you provide hundreds of Santa Monica kids, like Jayson, with access to Keystone Clubs where they develop leadership skills and complete community service projects.  

Through Keystone, Jayson worked with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to educate his peers about water conservation and energy efficiency. 

He also partnered with the UCLA Center for Community Engagement on a research project: How can the bad perception of the Mar Vista Garden community change? 

“In the project, we interviewed and laid out the blueprint to challenge the current negative perspective of the community and encourage people that change can be better for uplifting marginalized communities,” Jayson explained. 

He’s been a member of his Club for 11 years, and an enthusiastic participant in all Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club has to offer since his very first day. 

“As a kid, the Club was the only ray of shining hope for me,” said Jayson. “From the young age of 6 years old I made a commitment to the Boys & Girls Club of Mar Vista Gardens that I would never settle for anything less than who I believe I am.” 

Throughout the competition—in essays and presentations and interviews—Jayson’s passion for uplifting everyone around him shone through. He has made an enormous impact on his Club and his community! We will miss his leadership and enthusiasm but can’t wait to see how he uses the skills he’s gained at Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica to change the world.