Two Community Members to Compete for Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year Award
The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale, Lehi and Red Mountain branches, have chosen their 2018 Youth of the Year candidates.
Jessica Meneses will represent the Red Mountain branch and Adora Wesley-Howard will represent the Lehi branch. Both are Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members.
The candidates have already submitted three different essays based on their vision for the future, sharing who they are and how their club branch has helped them grow as a person. The Youth of the Year winner will be announced at the Blue Door Ball on February 23.
Meneses, nominated by Kaitlyn Burma, is a senior at Westwood High School and a member of the We The People Club at Westwood. After high school, she plans to attend Arizona State University and major in political science.
“I want to help my Community but I also want to be a part of the state,” Meneses said. “I will most likely be [involved] with tribal politics.”
Meneses explained what her three essays were about.
“We talk about our visions for America’s youth and how we want to help others maintain a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “We write three essays on how you want to see change in the world. The second one is your club experience, how the club has helped you grow as a person. Like in my essay, I talked about how the program has helped me educationally and how I learned to boost my self-esteem. It’s really stressful and you have to push yourself. You’ve got to motivate yourself to do the essays and do your work, but it’s definitely worth it.”
Wesley-Howard, nominated by Angela DiCicco, is a junior at Westwood High School. Culture is really important to her. She is a member of the O’odham Chichi No group from Gila River. She sees the Boys and Girls Club as her second home and has been a part of the club for five years. Her essays had a suicide-prevention theme.
“For my vision for Americas youth, I put to address the suicide rate in Native communities and the world,” she said. “I want to make [people] more aware and [tell them] that they’re not alone. They always have a phone number, they have people around them that care about them, and I don’t think anyone should feel like that, ever. Because I have personal experience, and it’s not a good feeling. I wouldn’t want anyone else feeling like that. I want to start a program at the Boys and Girls Clubs where people in the club or people in the community can learn about the signs and the symptoms of [suicide] so they can be aware if their child, a friend or someone they see every day might be going through a crisis.”