SAN ANTONIO – Several of our city’s great young people are making outstanding contributions to both their families and their communities.
Five finalists have been selected to compete this year for the title of 2022′s San Antonio’s Youth of the Year for the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Antonio.
This years’ finalists shared their remarkable stories at a special gala on Thursday night in their honor. The Youth of the Year program is considered to be the pinnacle of all Boys & Girls Club programs.
“They talk about their future aspirations and their future goals, but it’s really a celebration of resiliency, resiliency of kids in San Antonio,” Ada Saenz, CEO of San Antonio Boys & Girls Clubs said.
The competition is described as a culmination of months of workshops and one-on-one training, both on essay writing and public speaking. Each step of the journey provides the winners with scholarships and prizes.
In addition, the Champion For Youth Award was also presented to the honorable Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.
KSAT 12 anchor Urusla Pari hosted the event.
Meet the finalists
- Amaris Patlan has been a member of the Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio for the past 7 years. While at the club, Amaris has participated in several different programs from Torch Club, Keystone and STEM. Amaris said the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Antonio have made her a better team player. The club also has developed her ability to be more outspoken by allowing her to express her opinions without telling her she is wrong. Amaris is currently in 12th grade and will be graduating in June 2022 with her associate’s degree. Amaris is looking forward to either going to college to become an aero-engineer or enlisting in the Navy.
- Margarita Castro has been a member of the Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio for the past 9 years. During her time at the club, Margarita has said that she has transformed from a shy, quiet girl to one who has found her passion, especially for the arts. Margarita has participated in several programs at the club from Keystone to National Fine Arts competitions. Margarita is currently a senior and has been active in her school’s Mariachi group. Margarita is looking forward to her graduation and hopes to attend college and pursue a bachelor’s degree. She hopes she can continue her passion of creating animation.
- Emerald Alaniz has been a member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Antonio in the Young Achievers program for the past four years. During her time in Young Achievers, she has participated in college visits, workshops, mentoring program and community service events. Emerald is currently in 11th grade and after graduation, she wants to attend college, study her passion and help support the people she calls family. She has also been an active volunteer at Las Palmas Library.
- Juan Torres has been a member of the Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio off and on since he was six years old. Juan has participated in BGCA programs such as Passport to Manhood, SMART Moves, Healthy Habits and Career Launch. Juan has also been named as Youth of the Month while at the Teen Center. Juan hopes to pursue a career as a counselor and is currently a senior and will be graduating in June 2022. Juan has been an active member of his high school’s tennis team and this year his team was district champions.
2022 Youth of the Year Winner
- Lauren Almendarez has been a member of the Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio for the past 8 years and has participated in several programs during her time at the club. One her favorite programs is SMART girls. She said the program gave her an opportunity to understand more about the things that go on with her as a teenage girl. Lauren is currently a junior and hopes after graduation to attend college and complete her basics before starting the path to her career. Lauren recently joined her high school’s cheerleading squad and participated in Nationals in Dallas, Texas.
About the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio
From the organization’s website: “The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio (BGCSA) is to inspire youth, especially those who need them most, to achieve their full potential in a safe, positive and engaging environment that promotes education, health and character development. The Clubs provide after school and summer programs for youth, ages 6 to 18 years old. BGCSA creates an engaging space for over 1,000 youth who may otherwise be home alone, unsupervised. At BGCSA, members not only have fun, they stay safe, foster positive relationships, build self-confidence and succeed. Visit BeGreatSA.org for more information.”
Find more KSAT coverage of the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio here.