The board and staff of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia are proud to announce Guadalupe M. Monroy-Flores, as the winner of the 2018 Youth of the Year. Ms. Monroy-Flores has been a member at the Southwood Club since 2009 and is a 15 year-old freshman at Monticello High School, where she holds a 3.6 GPA.

Since joining the Club, Ms. Monroy-Flores has grown from a wide-eyed, 8 –year-old member to a confident 15-year-old role model for other Club members. She has completed over 60 hours of service to her community in the past 12 months, including through activities such as the Habitat for Humanity Rake-a-thon.

Her commitment to the Club’s focus on healthy lifestyles has manifested itself in many ways, including her participation in SOCA on a recreational soccer team, her advocacy for drug-free lifestyles, and in her work in the PB&J Fund’s Kid-Supported-Agriculture program.

Monticello High School teacher Eliese Zawacki says, “Guadalupe is the perfect AVID student. Her academics are extremely important to her, and she understands how her current hard work affects her future.”

Southwood Club staff member, Andrea  Arango, points out that in addition to academics, “Guadalupe’s sparkling personality and strong leadership skills have made her a popular figure within her Club and community,” adding that Guadalupe’s personal recruitment efforts have been instrumental to a rise in teen attendance at the Club.

Rebekah Coble, Habitat for Humanity’s Youth Engagement Specialist, notes that Guadalupe’s “active commitment to the community was exemplified most clearly this past summer when she chose to intern with Habitat.” During this time, she created and promoted a soccer tournament for children and teens.

Ms. Monroy-Flores credits many supporters—her family, her school, Habitat for Humanity, and the Boys & Girls Club – for helping her to keep her eye on her future and for teaching her how to read and focus. Through participating in the AVID program at her school, and through Boys & Girls Club activities,, she has  her sights set on attending a four-year college and studying psychology.

Her vision for the future involves all kids having a clear path toward a plan after high school. She says, “We should work with our community partners to provide internship opportunities for our teens so they can start getting real-world experience in jobs they actually may love and want to do.” Ms. Monroy-Flores credits the Boys & Girls Club and her school with providing her with opportunities to learn about careers. “They are helping me find a path I want to follow,” she says.

Ms. Monroy-Flores will represent Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia on April 5th and 6th at the Virginia-wide Youth of the Year Competition, which will be hosted by Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia in Charlottesville. There, she will be alongside Club peers from across the Commonwealth of Virginia, with the state-wide winner going on to the Southeast Regional competition.

Youth of the Year is Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition experience, focusing on stories of outstanding leadership, service, academic excellence, and living a healthy lifestyle. The goal of the program is to foster a new generation of leaders, fully prepared to live and lead in a diverse, global and integrated world economy. Each year, thousands of Club teens participate in local, state, and regional Youth of the Year events. Six teens advance to Washington, D.C., for the National Youth of the Year Gala & Celebration dinner, where one outstanding teen is named Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s national spokesperson.