Local Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County member named 2019 Southeast Region Youth of the Year
Contact Name: Sara Bealor
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Phone Number: 9413663911
Local Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County member Leonela Tase Sueiro, 18, was named the 2019 Southeast Region Youth of the Year on June 18, 2019, at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Southeast Youth of the Year Celebration in Atlanta, Georgia. The title and $40,000 was presented to Leonela by Jim Clark, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Leonela represented the state of Florida in this regional event and competed against eight other teen leaders from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington, D.C.
As the winner, Leonela will advance to the National Youth of the Year Celebration in Washington, D.C., on September 25, 2019, and have a chance at securing the National Youth of the Year title.
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.
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.
“We are so incredibly proud of Leonela,” said Bill Sadlo, President/CEO at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County. “She represents everything our organization stands for – hope, opportunity and empowerment. She’s a wonderful role model for our younger Club members and destined for greatness. We can’t wait to watch her shine at the National Youth of the Year Celebration.”
Leonela, who recently graduated from Riverview High School and will start pursuing a degree in psychology at The George Washington University this fall, 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 be the 2019 Southeast Region Youth of the Year.”
ABOUT THE BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF SARASOTA COUNTY:
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.