The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Redlands-Riverside has announced their Youth of the Year Ambassadors.
Adrian Chavez, Isabel Cruz, Tyryn Cleveland and Christopher Monterroza, all local high school students, were chosen for their character and citizenship, academics, and commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
As part of their selection process, each club member wrote about their club experience, their personal brand and their vision for America’s youth. They presented a brief speech on how the club has impacted their lives and were interviewed by a panel of judges.
As ambassadors, the youth receive college scholarships and will serve as spokespeople for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Redlands-Riverside. The four teens will be honored at club events in spring. One ambassador will be chosen as the Club’s Youth of the Year and will compete later this month against other youth in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. If he or she wins, they will advance to the state competition, according to a news release.
The announcement of the Youth of the Year will be later this month, the Club said.
Youth of the Year is a national program of Boys & Girls Clubs of America and recognizes high school-age youth who embody the Club’s mission to mold productive, caring, responsible citizens. To learn more about the Youth of the Year program, visit http://www.youthoftheyear.org
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Redlands-Riverside Youth of the Year Ambassadors:
Ambassador Adrian Chavez, a senior at Redlands East Valley High School, wants to get a criminal justice degree and work in law enforcement. She is involved in Keystone Club — Boys & Girls Clubs’ teen leadership and community service program — and works at the Club as part of its Junior Staff program.
“When I first came (to the Club), I had been struggling academically due to my ADHD. I also had very low self-esteem and anger issues that I did not know how to deal with. I felt alone, like I was an outsider,” Adrian said.
At the Club, she found a place she felt she belonged, and Club staff pushed her to work hard in school. Now she has a plus-3.0 GPA, and wants to help others.
“I imagine our juvenile justice system is filled with youth often viewed just like I was and expected to fail in life,” she said. “But I believe we can save their futures by creating supportive programs and environments where they are taught that they can succeed.”
Ambassador Isabel Cruz, a junior at Citrus Valley High School, hopes to be an author or journalist after college. She was subject to teasing in elementary and middle school, and by the time she came to Boys & Girls Club, she was insecure and didn’t care about school.
Since then, “being a member of the Club has opened my eyes to how important personal growth is for teens who have been in my position. It showed me that no matter how many times I fall due to someone’s negative judgement, I can get up and keep moving forward with my newly gained confidence.”
Additionally, she said, “having self-confidence through my strong relationships with staff and peers has also driven me to higher academic goals.”
At the Club, Isabel volunteers for events as part of Keystone Club, and is active in other programs. She also volunteers at her church.
She says she hopes to use her platform at the Club to help other teens build confidence and resist “self-bullying.”
Ambassador Tyryn Cleveland, a junior at Citrus Valley, is the first person in his family to not drop out of school. He wants to use the Club to draw attention to how the media affects young people’s body image.
“If it wasn’t for my Club experience, I would have been one more victim of this,” he said.
At the Club, he also found first-time experiences, adult role models, and the resilience and positivity to fight his anger at challenges in his life.
“The anger I felt was the greatest obstacle I have had to overcome,” he said. “However, I decided to have these trials and tribulations fuel my desire to move forward with my life.”
Tyryn is on his school’s track and field team and is working toward his Eagle Scout designation in Boy Scouts. After high school, he wants to serve in the military and have a family.
Ambassador Christopher Monterroza, a senior at REV, was inspired to encourage teens to help each other through stress after going through school and puberty with no father figure.
“Since coming to the Club, I have become more task-oriented dealing with the workload given to me … (and) I was able to create a full support system that I lacked previously,” he said.
Through Club programs like Keystone, he learned new things and developed an appreciation for community service. His mother inspired him to pursue a career in the medical field and to help those in need.
“My mother and the Boys & Girls Club have shown me how the world works and have prepared me for all the hardships that come with it,” he said.
Chris has ROP certificates from school in small business and medical assisting.