Boys and Girls Clubs of the Austin Area Names 2015 Youth of the Year

#Press Release
Giving children a strong foundation is one of the most important things we can do. The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Austin Area is Austin’s leading youth development agency, serving nearly 12,000 kids each year in Travis County via 23 clubs. They focus on youth development in three crucial areas: academic success, character and leadership and healthy lifestyles.
Boys and Girls Clubs of the Austin Area (BGCAA) has named Dennis Vera, a high school senior at Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, as Austin’s Youth of the Year (YOY). YOY is the highest honor a Club member can receive. As Austin’s Youth of the Year, Vera will receive a $5,000 scholarship from the Austin Area Boys and Girls Club Foundation and will guest speak at BGCAA’s Great Futures Spring Luncheon on May 19 at the Hilton Austin. As the BGCAA’s premier youth recognition program, YOY recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys and Girls Club, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles. “An amazing young lady with a promising future, Dennis will serve and represent our area clubs as the 2015 Youth of the Year,” said Maricela Casados. “She started in the Ann Richards Club at age 11 and has made the Club a ‘home away from home.’ She’s proof positive that great futures start at our local Boys and Girls Clubs.” Vera is committed to attending an Ivy League school. Out of eight college applications, her top choices are Harvard and Yale. Dennis plans to major in political science and communications and become a politician. “Dennis is so driven that, for a while, she would wake at 4 a.m. to go to McDonalds to complete homework, as her home was without electricity,” said Casados.
Vera will now compete to be a Texas Youth of the Year finalist. If chosen, she will compete for an additional $10,000 scholarship at the Texas Youth of the Year Luncheon on March 3rd in Austin, hosted by the Texas Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs. If selected as Texas Youth of the Year, Vera advances to the National YOY Competition held in Washington, D.C. for a chance at an additional $15,000 scholarship presented by the President of the United States. Marcus Jones, senior at LBJ High School was selected as the runner-up. Jones will receive a $3,000 college scholarship and serve as an additional spokesperson for the Club. The Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s (BGCA) Youth of the Year program has been nationally sponsored by the Reader’s Digest Foundation since 1947. “As a proud sponsor of the Youth of the Year program for over 60 years, we are thrilled to honor amazing teens, like Dennis, for their dedication and hard work,” said Susan Fraysse Russ, executive director, Reader’s Digest Foundation.

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