Through participating in our Youth of the Year program, teens have become more self-confident and focused on their value and future. Programs like this one are complicated to measure in terms of outcomes without subjectivity. Positively affecting youth, one life at a time, is considered a success. Below reflects this success through the story of one of our Youth of the Year finalists, Joy Wallace:
Joy joined Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach when she started high school as a recommendation from her brothers so she could meet people who would help her stay on a successful path. Having a difficult childhood filled with sexual abuse and living in the violent and gang-riddled Long Beach projects, she had all the cards stacked against her to fail. She learned to lead through the programs at the Clubs, taking on the extra responsibilities of tutoring and caring for the younger Club members. During the pandemic, when she felt at her lowest emotionally, she relied heavily on connecting with her fellow Club members during the weekly check-in Zoom calls. She took full advantage of the social-emotional workshops to help her cope with the pandemic and the career-focused workshops to help solidify her passion for medicine. Even with the challenges of her childhood, living conditions, and the pandemic, she was accepted to over 13 universities and plans to attend the University of California, Santa Barbara in the fall of 2021.