Three West Valley teens were among those the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley honored at its Youth of the Year celebration.
The next generation of community leaders were saluted where eight finalists emerged at the annual Today’s Kids, Tomorrow’s Stars event leading up to its “Youth of the Year” award.
Among the eight teens honored are Hunter Lowry and Amaya Jones, from the Louis & Elizabeth Sands Branch located at 4730 W. Grovers Ave., in Glendale.
Amaya has been a Club member at the Sands Branch for four years. She has a 3.4 GPA at Deer Valley High School, 18424 N. 51st Ave., Glendale, is president of the Keystone Club, is a group leader for the Girl Scouts program, participates in the Leaders in Training program, and is active member on the soccer, track and swim teams. Through these programs, she has acquired 300 volunteer hours.
Amaya plans on attending the University of Arizona to further her education and eventually become a veterinarian.
Hunter has been a Club member since the creation of the Stewart Club 11 years ago. He has a 3.8 GPA at Trevor Browne High School, is serving as the Senior Class Student Council president, is a participant in the Keystone Club, the Leadership in Training program, STOMP team, coaches for the youth flag football program, and volunteers with the Better to Give program. Over the years, he has combined his love for sports and volunteering by also serving more than 700 hours at the local YMCA as a coach and/or referee for Midnight Basketball, Miracle League program, and Special Olympics events.
Hunter hopes to attend Arizona State University and pursue an Independent Degree Program to eventually become a motivational speaker and inspire young athletes.
Also honored was Ricardo Martinez, of the Jerry & Helen Wisotsky Branch located at 11820 N. 81st Ave., Peoria.
Ricardo has been a Peoria Club member for 11 years. He has a 3.3 GPA at Peoria High School, 11200 N. 83rd Ave., is vice president of the Keystone Club, participates in the Torch Club, is on the varsity soccer team at school, and was a My Life Day coordinator. He has participated in street cleanups, volunteered at St. Mary’s Food Bank, helped veterans decorate a parade float, helped adopt kids for Christmas in partnership with the Salvation Army Christmas Angels, helped feed the homeless, and even granted a hospice patient their dream come true of attending Symphony Hall for an orchestra concert.
He hopes to attend trade school to study auto mechanics, welding and engineering.
The Youth of the Year program honors young people on their path to great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed and inspire.