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On February 10, 2010 at the 10th Annual Distinguished Leadership Awards Dinner at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, in front of an audience of 500 guests, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond proudly awarded    Carl Tabb  a $10,000 scholarship to further his education and pursue his dreams.  Carl Tabb is a Richmond Public School student who will graduate from George Wythe High School in June.

The Youth of the Year Program is Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond’s premier youth recognition program for club members.  This program has served as the primary vehicle for showcasing the exemplary achievements of club youth.  The Youth of the Year Program is currently sponsored by various local businesses, corporations, and private donors and implemented in Boys and Girls clubs throughout the country  This program recognizes participants’ superior leadership skills, academic achievement, obstacles overcome and outstanding service to their Boys & Girls Club and their community.

Each of the nine local Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond Units select candidates between the ages of 14-18 years of age to participate in their clubs local competition.  The winners from each of the nine units then begin their journey toward becoming the organizations Youth of the Year by participating in the Youth of the Year Academy which prepare them for the competition.

Workshops on public speaking and interviewing skills are presented. Throughout this process which includes interviews, essays, presentations and of course, fun, they polish their skills, meet new friends and open their eyes to the endless possibilities that exist before them. Each Youth of the Year nominee brings with him/her various challenges as well as achievements. Each has made a difference in their club and/or community and each recognizes the difference the club has made in them.  These nine candidates then participate in a formal interview with a panel of impartial judges. At that time judges evaluate the individuals on the criteria described above and select the overall  Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Ricmond Youth of the Year winner who will represent the organization at the state level.  Tabb won  Southside Unit’s Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year winner and placed 2nd overall organization wide.  The overall BGCMR Youth of the Year winner Beersheba,   Open High School student  and  Central Unit member received a $15,000 Scholarship and the 3rd Place Zach from the Petersburg Unit winner received a $5,000 Scholarship.

As the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metrto Richmond’s Youth of the Year, Beersheba will  serve as the agency’s ambassador during special events and meetings. Beershaeba also will represent BGCMR in the state competition.   The winner of the state competition then has the opportunity to move forward to the regional, and possibly the national competition.

National Youth of the Year winners appear before Congressional committees to speak on teen issues, participate in Presidential Town Hall meetings, work as Congressional Pages, appear on television and news programs, and serve as ambassadors to other youth organizations. In addition to these prestigious duties, current and past National Youth of the Year winners continue to play active roles in their local Boys & Girls Clubs and communities.

In conclusion the Youth of the Year Program is the culmination of years of preparation, a time to feel proud and to receive well-deserved recognition. For all youth, families, friends, and supporters it is a memorable and rewarding experience that further demonstrates the magnificent role Boys & Girls Clubs play in developing America’s youth.  I received the honor the Youth of The Year Award from BGCMR in 1996, placing in the top 3 in 1996’s VA State Youth of the Year Competition.

Congratulations again to Beersheba , Carl,  Zach and the 6 other YOY Unit recipients  for their accomplishments with in the Youth of the Year program.

-Contact DJ Swirv Deniro via Twitter @SwirvDeniro

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Since 1945, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond has been in the forefront of youth development — working with young people from disadvantaged economic, social and family circumstances.  In 1957, the Club became a member of Boys Club of America and opened our first unit on North Robinson Street which still stands today as the Central Unit. In 1960, the Club opened Camp Little Hawk in Goochland County. The camp, dubbed “the miracle in the woods”, was a 65 acre wooded property, donated by Richard S. Reynolds, Jr. In October of 1992, the Club officially began to accept girls into memberships and developed a full array of programs to meet the needs of our girl members. Because of the Clubs newest members, in March of 1993, the Club officially changed its name to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Richmond, Virginia. The Clubs has since grown to 9 units throughout Richmond, Chesterfield, Petersburg and Richmond with 3,018 members who receive quality programs, caring staff and a safe place throughout the year.   Our staff and volunteers are dedicated to ensuring that disadvantaged youth have greater access to quality programs and services that will enhance their lives and shape their futures.

Visit http://www.bgcmr.org for information regarding Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond programs.