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Kid Stories

Haley: Youth of the Year

By February 26, 2024No Comments

Our Clubs are filled with young people who have big dreams for building a better future—for themselves, their communities, and the whole world. Youth of the Year is an annual competition that allows them to shine. 

Every year, Clubs across the country host the competition. Members practice public speaking, share their goals in personal essays, and present in front of a judging panel of local leaders. Meet our winner, Jayson

Haley, our Youth of the Year runner up, is making a difference by encouraging sustainability in her community. 

“I dream of making positive changes in sustainability through volunteering, inspiring, and advocating,” she said. “I am spreading awareness to youth, in hopes of a healthier and eco-friendly future.”  

Haley impressed our judges with her involvement in her Club, her school, and her community. She’s an active member of student government and leadership organizations through Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica. 

“I love engaging in my community and playing a role as someone who can hear students’ opinions and voice them,” Haley shared.  

“My experience at Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica encouraged me at such a young age to take significant roles in other communities to expand my perspective,” she added. 

Haley has been a member of SMBGC since she was six. She started at Main Branch, went to JAMS as a middle schooler, and is now back at Main Branch to finish out her time as a Club member.  

“My favorite thing about the Boys and Girls Club was meeting new people and having a connection instantly built with other members,” said Haley, explaining how smooth her transition between Clubs was.  

Throughout her time as a Club member, she’s taken advantage of all we have to offer, including sports, art, dance, leadership clubs, cooking, and coding. “These activities impacted my life by allowing me to make friends and providing me with resources I did not have at home,” said Haley.  

Haley loves the ocean and visits the beach often, but seeing how much trash there is makes her sad. “It ends up hurting marine life after making its way into the ocean, so I made it my job to contribute to a solution for pollution,” she said.  

First, Haley started planning beach cleanups with her classmates. Then, she started a Heal the Bay club at her school. The local nonprofit helps organize communities to clean up beaches. She’s now the president of her school’s club.  

Haley is a brave and creative leader who is confident in her ability to tackle any challenge.  

“The Club strongly developed and challenged these strengths in me as a young girl and made me realize I want to be the reason for change in my communities,” she shared.  

Haley has a great future ahead of her and we can’t wait to see how she uses her voice to create change.  

Your donations, volunteer hours, and support help ensure we can provide kids like Haley with every opportunity they need to thrive. Thank you for helping make their journeys possible! Visit https://www.smbgc.org/give-today/ to help us continue building great futures for kids in Santa Monica.