Boys & Girls Clubs announces top young people from Porter, Lake Counties

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News, Featured

Published on April 11, 2018 with No Comments

Azariah Avery (left) was named Youth of the Year for Lake County and Karina Martinez was named Youth of the Year for Porter County through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana.

The Allure on the Lake in Chesterton was electric with excitement as eager guests waited to hear who would be named Youths of the Year for Lake and Porter counties. Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana hosted its annual Youth of the Year reception, celebrating nine club members who were chosen to represent their respective Club.

While all nine candidates are considered winners, two club teens emerged and were named Youth of the Year for their respective county. Azariah Avery, a member of the Merrillville Club, was named Youth of the Year for Lake County, and Karina Martinez, from the Duneland Club, was named Youth of the Year for Porter County. Both will receive a $2,500 scholarship for their higher education pursuits.

Kale Nelson, a member of the South Haven Club, and Phoebe Ruiz of the Cedar Lake Club were named as the organization’s Youth of the Year runners-up\ and will each receive a $1,250 education scholarship.

Every year, clubs recognize the actions, perseverance and passions of teen leaders with the Youth of the Year nomination. Nominees also included Samaria Adams (Hammond Club), Marcus Steel (John Will Anderson – Gary Club), Lily Thole (Lake Station Club), Bryanna Bass (Portage Club), and Will Frost (Valparaiso Club).

“Every child deserves the opportunity to be successful. This is what Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana believes. Our Youth of the Year participants embody the values, leadership, service, academic excellence and healthy lifestyles; they exemplify the critical impact a Boys & Girls Club can have on the lives of young people,” said Ryan Smiley, president of Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County. “Each year, I am beyond proud of our Club members who are named Youth of the Year Candidates. This year also is an exciting year as we announce, for the last time, a Youth of the Year for Porter County and one for Lake County. As we are now one organization, in 2018-2019 we will announce only one candidate to represent our Greater Northwest Indiana area.”

Youth of the Year celebrates teens whose club experience empowers them to find their voice and achieve success through after-school experiences rooted in what matters to them most – choice, access and passion. Boys & Girls Clubs’ Youth of the Year program is an avenue whereby young people showcase their talents and achievements, share their hopes and dreams, and work toward a bright and positive future. Candidates emerge through year-round recognition programs in their local clubs. They progress through first, local and then state and regional events, culminating in a weeklong celebration in Washington, D.C. where one youth, nationwide, is named National Youth of the Year – the highest honor bestowed upon a Club member.

Azariah and Karina will now prepare for the Indiana State Youth of the Year Competition which will take place April 13-14, 2018 in Indianapolis. They will be competing against 33 other Club members from across the state.

The Youth of the Year program and reception was sponsored by American Licorice Company, Computer Services, Inc., We Create Media, MacLennan and Bain Insurance, Ace USA Limousine, Second Nature Limousine, All Around Limousine, and Harley and Jan Snyder.


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