BGCB’s Inspirational Youth of the Year

Staff at our Teen Center brought in volunteers from the community and our corporate partners (Toyota Financial Services and Waggener Edstrom) to help select the Youth of the Year who will represent the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue. Participating teens wrote and delivered a speech about the impact that BGCB has had on their lives, and the volunteer judges made their selection based on those powerful speeches. The selection has been made and we’re so thrilled to announce that this year’s Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue Youth of the Year is… Kaitlynn!YouoftheYear 011

Kaitlynn has been a member of BGCB since she was in 3rd grade! Kaitlynn currently attends our Teen Center, where she participates in a variety of leadership and academic programs, including: Keystone Advisory – A teen-run council that plans and coordinates teen focused programs, community service and leadership opportunities; Diplomas to Degrees, a program -sponsored by Toyota Financial Services- designed to get teens prepared for college by offering SAT prep classes, college visits and tours, guest speakers, and career development; and SMART Girls – A program that offers young women – ages 8 to 17 – guidance toward healthy attitudes and lifestyles, self-esteem enhancement, and prevention/education.

Kaitlynn has already logged more than 300 community service hours as a part of Keystone Advisory – amazing! She says, “It {Keystone} has made me open my mind and learn about what people deal with on a daily basis and find ways to give back to my community.” Kaitlynn served as a Teen Steering Committee Member for the 2014 Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington State Teen Summit where she assisted with planning and implementing a day long leadership conference that hosted more than 200 Club members. She was selected to speak on behalf of the steering committee during the opening session and assisted with breakout sessions through the event. This year, she also planned a Holiday Toy Drive for kids at Swedish Hospital, helped with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night event and participated in Earth Corps where she worked to restore a section of forest and helped to remove and replace invasive plants.

Kaitlynn helps run the store at the Teen Center.

Kaitlynn helps run the store at the Teen Center.

BGCB Keystone Advisor and staff, Masao Yamada, has been working with Kaitlynn for the last few years and has been so proud of all of her accomplishments both inside and outside of The Club:

Kaitlynn has been coming to the Club since a very early age but it wasn’t until recently that she suffered some major hardships outside of the Club. Kaitlynn displayed extreme courage and strength to overcome these hardships. We are proud to have been, and will continue to be, a part of that support group she seeks as she achieves her goals and overcomes her obstacles.

Kaitlynn is such an incredible example of the staples of youth development that we emphasize throughout our programs – academic success, character development & leadership and healthy lifestyles. Kaitlynn is looking at two possible tracks for her post-secondary education/training. One is to attend the Culinary Institute of America’s NYC Campus. Kaitlynn’s interest in culinary arts was piqued when she started taking a culinary class at Newport HS. She would love to one day open a full service kitchen where she could serve homeless members of her community.  Another option she is considering is to pursue a degree in Physical Therapy at Everest College. Kaitlynn recently suffered a knee injury when playing basketball and has gained an interest in physical therapy as she was working with PT’s in her recovery. Regardless of the path Kaitlynn chooses, we are sure she will find great success and continue to be a pillar of inspiration in her community.

Kaitlynn will go on to participate in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington State Association’s Youth of the Year Award dinner this spring, where the Washington State YOY will be selected.

YouoftheYear 001Congratulations, Kaitlynn! Best of luck to you as you advance in the YOY selection!


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