Contact Name: Sara Bealor
Contact Email: email@example.com
Contact Phone Number: 9413663911
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America Youth of the Year program has celebrated the inspirational stories of outstanding teens across the nation since 1947. The program recognizes Boys & Girls Clubs members who demonstrate strong leadership and service skills, as well as, academic excellence and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle. Eligible teens are encouraged to compete for the prestigious Boys & Girls Clubs of America Youth of the Year title through local, state, regional and national competitions.
On February 1, 18-year-old Riverview High School Senior Leonela Tase Sueiro secured the local 2019 Youth of the Year title for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County at the agency’s annual Steak & Burger event. Leonela, as well as 19 other Youth of the Year representatives from Boys & Girls Clubs across the state, traveled to the Florida Youth of the Year Celebration in Ft. Walton Beach April 11-12, and shared their compelling stories with a panel of judges in the hopes of being named the 2019 Florida Youth of the Year.
On Friday, April 12, the panel selected Leonela to represent the state of Florida as the 2019 Florida Youth of the Year. The title and $5,000 was presented to Leonela by Randy Wilkens, Southeast Regional Director, Leadership, Character & Impact at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Leonela moved from Cuba to the United States with her family when she was just 11 years old, and did not speak any English at the time. Leonela remembers feeling isolated, and says she struggled to be herself, connect with peers and adjust to a new culture during this challenging time in her life before she found the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County.
“When I walk into my Club, I feel a sense of belonging, of acceptance, of family,” said Leonela. “I can trace every amazing connection I’ve created back to the Boys & Girls Club. The Club has provided me with the tools to shape my own future, supported me on my journey and helped me become the person I want to be. The Club has ensured I am seen, and I want everyone to feel the same belonging and empowerment that my Club has provided me. I am so honored to represent the state as the 2019 Florida Youth of the Year.”
Leonela will advance to the Southeast Youth of the Year Celebration at the Georgia Aquarium on June 18 in Atlanta, GA. If she wins the 2019 Southeast Youth of the Year title, Leonela will go on to the National Youth of the Year Celebration in September at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The national winner will become a role model, ambassador and spokesperson for 4 million Boys & Girls Clubs members across the United States, receive academic scholarships and have opportunities for life-changing experiences such as networking with celebrity alumni, securing internships with national partners, speaking at national conferences and meeting the country’s top leaders and elected officials.
“This is the second consecutive year that our local Youth of the Year secured the Florida Youth of the Year title. We are so unbelievably proud of Leonela. She has worked so hard to overcome life’s challenges at a young age, and become the teen leader she is today,” said Bill Sadlo, President/CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County. “We know she will positively represent not just Sarasota County, but also the entire state of Florida as Youth of the Year at the regional competition.”
For more information, visit bgcsarasota.com.
ABOUT THE BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF SARASOTA COUNTY:
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County has been a leading youth-serving organization in Sarasota County and its surrounding area since 1970, and provides enriching after-school and summer programs to thousands of youth, ages 6 to 18, in Sarasota, Venice, North Port and Arcadia. The organization’s mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need services the most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. The programs are designed to empower youth to excel in school, become leaders, adopt healthy habits and create plans for success after high school graduation. For more information, visit bgcsarasota.com or call 941-366-3911.