Washington, D.C. – Boys & Girls Clubs of America has named Arianna Skinner the 2016 – 2017 National Military Youth of the Year in a ceremony held at the Army & Navy Club in Washington, D.C. The JB MDL-Fort Dix Youth Program teen will receive a $20,000 scholarship and serve as Boys & Girls Clubs of America official advocate for military youth across the country and abroad.
To earn the Military Youth of the Year honor, Club teens advance through local, state and regional competitions—demonstrating how they have made outstanding contributions to their school, community and Boys & Girls Clubs of America-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. Arianna was one of six regional finalists selected to vie for the national honor.
"Military youth like Arianna face unique challenges, and we are committed to providing the community and connections needed to help them succeed,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "Her leadership and strength are shining examples of the power we believe all young people possess. Thanks to the many partners who support this program, Youth of the Year provides a platform for incredible teens to share their voice and scholarships to help them realize their full potential."
Arianna, like many military youth, used her Boys & Girls Clubs of America-affiliated Youth Center as an outlet to form meaningful relationships and access important resources when moving between military installations. Her Youth Center involvement shaped Arianna into a well-rounded young adult with strong leadership skills, even serving on the Air Force Teen Council. Arianna plans to attend the Air Force Academy after she graduates from high school in 2019. She intends to become a fighter pilot or intelligence officer.
"My Boys & Girls Club taught me that a little bit of fear is not a sign of weakness," said Arianna. "I am not afraid to give 100 percent as the ambassador for our military youth. My Club was the one thing that helped me become resilient and strong. It gave me a sense of hope, when I was moving from place to place."
The day before the National Military Youth of the Year celebration, Arianna along with five other regional military finalists also participated in the Better Together Military Public Private Partnership launch. The initiative, founded by Boys & Girls Clubs of America, is a groundbreaking, action-focused partnership designed to improve the lives of military families in civilian communities where the need is greatest, with a goal of connecting 250,000 military families to resources over the next five years.
Military Youth of the Year is a component of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year recognition program. On Sept. 27, Arianna will join five other finalists from civilian Clubs to vie for the National Youth of the Year honor and scholarship. Five judges individually interview each candidate and select the national winner on the basis of scholastic achievement, community service, and leadership ability. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable each year up to $100,000.
The Youth of the Year recognition program is presented by The Walt Disney Company, who has supported Boys & Girls Clubs of America for more than 50 years, empowering young people to reach their full potential and providing youth with access to the tools they need to build the great futures they imagine. Toyota, Signature Sponsor of Youth of the Year, is dedicated to inspiring the next generations of engineers, thinkers and leaders who will help drive the American economy. Additional support is provided by University of Phoenix, a committed partner who has worked with Boys & Girls Clubs of America on many Academic Success initiatives, and the Taco Bell Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier partner for teen empowerment.
For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit www.youthoftheyear.org.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of AmericaFor more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,200 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.
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