BRONZEVILLE STUDENT SAMAYA A. NAMED UNION LEAGUE BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS 2023 YOUTH OF THE YEAR


 

BRONZEVILLE STUDENT SAMAYA A. NAMED UNION LEAGUE BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS 2023 YOUTH OF THE YEAR 

Air Force Academy Junior Samaya A. to represent Union League Boys & Girls Clubs at statewide Boys & Girls Clubs of Illinois competition this Spring. 

Lyric P., Nicholson STEM Academy 6th Grader, named Junior Youth of the Year    

CHICAGO – Samaya A., 16, a junior at Air Force Academy High School in Armour Square and a member of its after school Union League Boys & Girls Club, has been named the Union League Boys & Girls Clubs 2023 Youth of the Year, recognizing her academic performance and service to Club, community, and family.  Bronzeville resident Samaya A. will proudly represent the 104-year-old Union League Boys & Girls Clubs organization at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Illinois statewide competition to be held next month.  In addition, Lyric P., 12, a sixth grader at the Nicholson STEM Academy in Englewood, was named Union League Boys & Girls Clubs 2023 Junior Youth of the Year, acknowledging her accomplishments at Nicholson’s after school club.  The announcements were made at an inspiring and celebratory Youth of the Year Awards event, co-chaired by Marsha Hoover & Matt Sheahin, and attended by hundreds of Union League Boys & Girls Clubs supporters at the Union League Club in downtown Chicago. 

Samaya, a junior at the Air Force Academy High School, already holds the rank of Cadet Colonel, a leadership rank usually held by seniors. Academically, she is an exceptional student, receiving Honor Roll accolades annually, and is a proud member of the Student Voice Committee and Gender and Sexuality Alliance. Samaya is proud of, and excited about, Union League Boys & Girls Clubs’ newly formed partnership with Air Force Academy and can’t wait to witness the after-school Club’s continued progress.  Her post-secondary plans include majoring in Biology with a focus on environmental science. 

“I understand that my experiences at Union League Boys & Girls Clubs, my community, and the world I live in have shaped my perspective, but I know I am the definer of my destiny,” she has said. 

Added emcee Brandon Molina, himself the 2013 Union League Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year, “The Union League Boys & Girls Clubs has always been there for me. The Youth of the Year program goes further than just a competition.  Over the years, it helped me develop connections, network, and build long lasting relationships. We have this saying that once a Club kid, always a Club kid, and the Union League Boys & Girls Clubs created not just a safe place for me, but it created a family.” 

Among the 15,000 members of Union League Boys & Girls Clubs, seven were selected to participate in its 2023 Youth of the Year program; in addition to Samaya, other Club members include Jacob B. (Junior, Barreto Club); Danika M. (Junior, Clemente Club); Anthony M. (Senior, Club One); Zaida R. (Senior, Club Two); Jamal G. (Senior, Englewood STEM Club); and Jose L. (Senior, Garcia Club).  In addition, seven Union League Boys & Girls Clubs members, ages 10-14, were selected for the 2023 Junior Youth of the Year competition. Besides Lyric, also participating were Quenniyah M. (Barreto); Valeria H. (Club One); Jada A. (Club Two); Daniell J. (Hammond Club); Jordan R. (Stagg Club); and Daniel S. (Zizumbo Charter School Club). The Junior Youth of the Year program gives younger Club members a chance to demonstrate their leadership ability and potential, and to build the strong foundation needed to succeed in the future. 

The national Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Youth of the Year recognition is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can achieve. It celebrates youth who have overcome enormous odds and demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments. Beginning at the local Club level (such as Union League Boys & Girls Clubs) and continuing through state and regional competitions, Boys & Girls Club members throughout the country compete for Youth of the Year honors.  The five regional winners will meet in the nation’s capital in September where they will compete for the National Youth of the Year title. 

All 2023 Union League Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year and Jr. Youth of the Year participants received technology gifts, including laptops, Chrome books and tablets, in recognition of their achievements. 

The Union League Boys & Girls Clubs thanks its 2023 Youth of the Year sponsors: The Shade Family Foundation (Technology Sponsor), Raina & Tim Cunningham (Youth & Family Sponsor), Kevin Hermanek (Youth Development Sponsor) and Zach Leonard (Event Technology Sponsor), along with Frank Devincentis, The Fleming Family, Grubhub, Jeannie and Patrick Herbert, Lavelle Law, John Lemker, Marsha Hoover and Tom Karaba, Peak Construction Corporation, and Michelle and Matt Sheahin. 

Since its founding on December 26, 1919, as a foundation of the Union League Club of Chicago, the Union League Boys & Girls Clubs have been serving youth in neighborhoods with the highest hardship index in Chicago; providing quality programming centered on academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. Today, ULBGC serves over 15,000 youth members at 19 well-equipped and professionally staffed inner-city Clubs that bring effective after-school programming to youth in the Armour Square, Pilsen, West Town, Humboldt Park, Bucktown, South Lawndale and Englewood communities.  In addition to its Club sites, the non-profit ULBGC also serves Court-detained youth assigned to Chicago’s Juvenile Temporary Detention Program and manages its own 247-acre summer camp in southern Wisconsin where Club youth have a chance to enjoy supervised outdoor activities not easily accessible in an urban environment.  For more information on the 2023 Youth of the Year Awards program or to get involved with Union League Boys & Girls Clubs, please visit http://www.ulbgc.org

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