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Since 1947, the Youth of the Year program has honored and celebrated the nation’s most inspiring teens and their incredible journeys. Stories of outstanding leadership, service, academic excellence, and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle have made Youth of the Year America’s premier leadership and recognition program for teens.

 

Becoming National Youth of the Year is an exciting and inspiring journey. Each year, thousands of Club teens participate in local, state, and regional Youth of the Year events. Six teens, including five regional finalists and the National Military Youth of the Year, advance for the National Youth of the Year, where one outstanding young person is named Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s national teen spokesperson. The National Youth of the Year is a role model, leader, and advocate for the nearly four million youth served by Boys & Girls Clubs each year, and all of America’s young people.

2022 Maryland Youth of the Year Winners

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Amari

JB Andrews Youth Program
(Andrews Air Force Base Youth Center)

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Jamison

Boys & Girls Club of
Westminster

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2022 Maryland Youth of the Year Finalists

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A”Leeyah

A’Leeyah was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She is 14 years old and in the 9th grade at Bard High School Early College. She serves as a student ambassador, Vice President of the 9th grade class, and a role model to her peers in addition to participating in extracurricular activities such as singing, dancing, acting (theater) and movie club. A’Leeyah started attending the Brooklyn O’Malley Boys & Girls Club when she was six years old. At the age of 14, she started attending Westport Homes Boys & Girls Club. During her time at both Clubs, she was an active participant in Girls Who Code and SMART Girls. SMART Girls prepared her for public speaking, while Girls Who Code taught her about coding and STEM.  A’Leeyah once struggled with speaking to people but the Boys & Girls Club and her experiences helped her express herself. At the Westport Homes Boys & Girls Club, she participates in sports such as kickball, dance and step. A’Leeyah is a kind and empathic Club member who will happily sit and listen to the younger members in the Club when they are struggling with an issue. She will try her best to make them feel better and to help them solve the issue that they are dealing with.

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Azzure

Azzure is often described as being cool, calm and collected. Her Club Director sees her as a quiet, motivational leader that can always be counted on, even under pressure. Whether she is working with special needs middle-school youth or supporting the needs of other Club members, every task is met with optimism and positive energy. The 17-year-old Meade High School senior holds a 3.6 grade-point average and enjoys learning environments that challenge her personal growth and interest in working with children. She is currently employed as part of the Junior Staff Career Development Program at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis & Anne Arundel County. Be it teaching kids how to play a fun new game or maneuvering a complex project, Azzure is immensely patient. Her cool persona and public speaking voice engage and invigorate the Club kids and staff members alike. Inherently calm and peaceful, her aura motivates those around her to exude the same energy. Azzure gives thanks to the Boys & Girls Club for helping her connect with kids through public speaking. She said programs like Rooted in Reading have given her confidence beyond measure. She is immensely thankful to the Boys & Girls Clubs for the many opportunities over the years, but especially for helping manifest her vision of working as a professional writer and public speaker.

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Amari

Amari is self-motivated, determined, enthusiastic and open-minded. He has always been extremely motivated; whether he was assigned to a group or tutoring his peers, he has shown his enthusiasm for his work and nurtured his peers and guided them at every point. His core strength has been his ability to motivate others. Amari has been a member of Joint Base Andrews Youth Programs for the past 7 years. He has taken on the leadership in Torch Club and Keystone Club, where he now holds the President role. This year alone, Amari has invested nearly 100 community service hours and last year he was awarded the Bronze Presidential Awards for serving his community. For every event held at the Club, Amari is a leader and he helps the members in Keystone come up with a plan to make the event successful for all who attend. Amari has been a gem at Joint Base Andrews Youth Center in the SAC community and Teen Center. In every Club program he was invested in such as Passport to Manhood, Healthy Habits and Money Matters, he took the lead. He states that his Boys & Girls Club is his “home away from home” and everyone is family. He is comfortable in expressing his feelings and opinions without worrying about judgment. The programs that the Club provides have helped him quickly understand his role in the community and led him to pursue other leadership roles as FBLA’S Regional Vice-President and Vice President of the National Honor Society.

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Jamison

Jamison is resilient, bright-hearted and truly authentic.  When asked to describe her, peers at the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster referred to Jamison as kind, loyal and supportive. Jamison is well-known at the Club for her compassion and is always the first to offer a helping hand and mentor a friend through challenges. Creativity is Jamison’s superpower and she is an artist in every sense. Jamison often shares her creativity outwardly through her clothing or hair, but other times her fresh new ideas are her gift to us! Jamison is a sophomore at Winters Mill High School where she serves as a Sources of Strength mentor. She loves art, but she also includes history as one of her favorite classes because she loves learning about the past. Jamison wants to be a high school art teacher and inspire kids to add their own colors to the world’s palette. Jamison has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster for 6 years, participating in afterschool and summer programs. She is active in SMART Girls, BGC Rising, and Art Club and serves on the Club’s leadership team as a Junior Leader. Recently she participated in the Club’s Find Your Natural High Program, where she shared the positive ways that she finds that euphoric feeling without using drugs or alcohol. Jamison worked with the Carroll County Health Department to create a public service announcement that aired on a local radio station. Jamison believes that today’s youth have a lot to say, they just need an environment like the Club where they are encouraged to find their voice. Jamison credits the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster with helping her find her own voice and inspiring her to make a difference in her community.

Boys & Girls Clubs of

Metropolitan Baltimore

JB Andrews Youth Program
(Andrews Air Force Base Youth Center)

Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis & 
Anne Arundel County

Boys & Girls Clubs of 
Westminster