VIDEO: Meet the Finalists

But wait, there’s more! CLICK on a photo below for a Q/A from each Youth of the Year…

Stephanie Coates

Camp Mendocino

Stephanie Coates is a senior at Castro Valley High School and plans to go to a four-year college where she can work toward her goal of becoming an attorney. She has been a member of BGCSF for six years.

How does it feel to be selected to be Youth of the Year?

Honestly, I was honored and I didn't know that I would actually be able to do something like this.

What do you hope to get out of the program?

I hope to gain great friendships, find more mentors - people that can help me out through the rest of my school year, and my senior year. Ultimately, [I want to find] people that I can go to for anything that I need, anything that I need help with academically, or personally.

If you could have any kind of super power, what would it be?

If I could have any type of superpower it would be to fly because you can get anywhere you want at any time.

What is something people may not know about you?

Something that people may not know about me when they first meet me is that I have a twin brother.

What’s one of your favorite songs and why?

One of my favorite songs…it's not really my favorite song…it’s a song that I gravitate to is “My Girl” by The Temptations. I think it's one of my dad's favorite songs. Sometimes he sings it to me, and when I was little he would sing it to me.

What is your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement would have to be getting a 3.0 last year. That was something I worked really, really hard on and I didn't know that I was going to achieve that.

What is your biggest fear?

One of my biggest fears is kind of cliché, but it's failing. I don't really like to fail, so when I do fail it's the ultimate letdown and I'm really hard on myself about it. That's one thing that I'm really scared of: failing.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I grow up, I want to be a lawyer or if I don't become a lawyer, I still want to do something that has to do with law. Maybe a social worker or something in criminal justice.

Why do you love BGCSF?

I love the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco because it’s a place that youth and maybe some adults might gravitate to for help; it’s a sanctuary for a family, and it’s like a big family.

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Stephanie Coates

Stephanie Coates

Camp Mendocino

Eva Heyert

Ernest Ingold

Eva Heyert is a senior at Lowell High School.  After graduation, she plans to attend a four-year college with the goal of having a career in service through the Navy or medical professions.  Eva has been a member of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco for eight years.

How does it feel to be selected to be Youth of the Year?

It is such an honor to be honest with you. It was very surprising at the same time too.  But, I am completely tickled.  I love Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco and I love E.I. (Ernest Ingold Clubhouse) so much that it was really just a huge honor. 

What do you hope to get out of the program?

A lot of things! Experience, meeting new people, working on my future, what I want to be, and just figuring stuff out.

If you could have any kind of super power, what would it be?

If I could have any superpower I think it would be to stop time. When I'm really stressed out or something, I can stop time, just relax and hang out for a second.

What is something people may not know about you?

I'm a huge movie fan. I love movies of all types.

What’s one of your favorite songs and why?

My gosh! “Shadow Captain” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is most definitely failure or just not finding happiness in my life.  I feel that's the main goal, for me to be happy and find my passion.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I realized at this point, especially working at Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, that I love service and helping others.  So, I've been thinking about joining the Navy or, maybe after college, I could become a nurse. But in some type of way, I would love to help people.

Why do you love BGCSF?

I love Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco because it is a great community where anybody, of any age, any background, can come together and just hang out, have fun, get help on homework, learn new skills like swimming and stuff like that.  It's amazing, I'm a swimmer mainly at BGCSF, but it's amazing, being able to teach kids water safety.  That usually costs a bunch of money at other places, but at the Boys & Girls Club you can get it for free or for like, five bucks, and so it’s a really nice place.

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Eva Heyert

Eva Heyert

Ernest Ingold

Felix Ortiz

Excelsior

Felix Ortiz is a senior at City Arts and Technology High School.  After graduating from high school he’s looking forward to going to a four-year college where he can get the knowledge to become a mechanical engineer. Felix has been a member of BGCSF for two years. 

How does it feel to be selected to be Youth of the Year?

To be selected Youth of the Year is a huge accomplishment because I have only been with BGCSF for a year and a half.

What do you hope to get out of the program?

What I hope to get out of the program is to build relationships with people where I can get somewhere further in the future. Hopefully, I'll win scholarships from the program.  I would also like to build relationships with other youth that have been nominated and with BGCSF employees that will help me get further in my education.

If you could have any kind of super power, what would it be?

If I could have any superpower I'd want to be able to teleport. Right now, I don't have a car and I don't have my license. So, if I could teleport, it would be easier than catching MUNI or BART.  And, I will be able to get to places faster.

What is something people may not know about you?

Something people may not know about me is that I'm one of the ten students at my school that's in an AP class. Most people don't see me in an Advanced Placement class. 

What’s one of your favorite songs and why?

I actually don't have a favorite song. When I first went to Boys & Girls Club, I was really into the music studio.  I don't have a favorite song, because I listen to all types of music. I actually help record people's songs and I make beats. So, I'm open to all music.

What is your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement as of now is being nominated to get the Youth of the Year award because in high school it’s sort of been hard.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I grow up, I want to become a mechanical or electrical engineer.  At first, I wasn't really into engineering, but then once I thought about it, I thought it would be a cool career to have especially since I'm in the Advance Placement math class.  It will be easier for me because math is my favorite subject and you have to know a lot of math to become an engineer.

Who is one of your role models and why?

One of my role models is the high school services director at the Club, Antonio Moreno.  He has really pushed me to do a lot of things that I didn't want to do. If he sees me giving up on something he tells me why I had to keep doing it; even with the Youth of the Year award. I'm not really comfortable speaking in front of groups of people. I know he's pushing me to do this because it's only going to make me better.

Why do you love BGCSF?

I love Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco because it really creates an environment where you feel safe and everyone gets along. Since I've been at the Club, there hasn't been any drama. Everyone gets along perfectly fine.  I never joined it as a kid, but now that I’ve joined, I wished I would've joined when I was younger.

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Felix Ortiz

Felix Ortiz

Excelsior

Iesha Gosman

Willie Mays

Iesha is currently a senior at St. Ignatius High School and her post-high school goal is to attend a four-year college. Iesha has been a member of BGCSF for six years.

How does it feel to be selected Youth of the Year?

It feels amazing and I’m extremely excited for what this year has to offer.

What do you hope to get out of the program?

I hope to get more knowledge out of this experience and better relationships with my peers.  I also hope to receive some scholarship money, connections and to become a more well-rounded person.

If you could have any kind of superpower, what would it be?

If I could have any superpower it would probably be to be invisible; to go unseen because the world is very hectic, sometimes I’d like to get under the radar.

What is something people may not know about you when they first meet you?

People may not know that I have the most adorable, six month old pit bull puppy that is the love my life and I spend 89% of my time with him.

What is one of your favorite songs and why?

My absolute favorite song is “Don’t stop believing” by Journey. It’s sings to my experience; it’s something that me and my grandmother shared together and I listen to it in memory of her.

What is your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement is probably making it this far through high school and it’s such a prestigious high school. I’m almost done and I’m really excited to graduate.  Once I graduate, that will be again my proudest achievement.

What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is probably loosing my loved ones, my family.  Having to deal with that in the past it’s one of the hardest things in life.  My biggest fear is not being able to come home to the ones I love.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I grow up I would like to be in sports medicine, an on-site team doctor for the NFL, I want to study Kinesiology in college and hopefully pursue that in the future.

Who is one of your role models and why?

My role model is hands-down my mom, she is one of the strongest women I know and I really want to make her proud.

Why do you love Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco?

I love Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco because they are one of the biggest reason I’ve made it so far in my life; one of my biggest support systems. I have a great relationship with a lot of the staff at Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco. I appreciate them for that.

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Iesha Gosman

Iesha Gosman

Willie Mays

Carmen Sosa

Columbia Park

Carmen is currently a senior at SF Flex Academy and her post-high school goal is to attend a technical school. Carmen has been a member of BGCSF for the past ten years.

How does it feel to be selected Youth of the Year?

Well when I heard about it, I was really, really excited because so many of my previous friends have got in and they've talked about how enlightening it is.  How it is a lot of work, but it’s really rewarding at the end.

What do you hope to get out of the program?

I hope to gain confidence. I’m very shy, and so being able to network with others and build these relationships that will last.

If you could have any kind of superpower, what would it be?

If I had one superpower I would like to control lighting, or electricity.  In the city there are so many possibilities with electricity; you could pretty much do anything.

What is something people may not know about you when they first meet you? 

Something people may not know about me is that I’m very crafty.  I’ve been obsessed with crafts and drawing since I was young.

What is your proudest achievement?

I think my proudest achievement is being able to call myself “Youth of the Year”.  Last year I got “Best of My Clubhouse”; I got “Best Teen Staff”; I’m really excited about being Youth of the Year this year.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I get older, I would like to work in the medical field as a nurse or something with youth, like a youth developer.

Who is one of your role models and why? 

I would have to say one of my role models is my Mom.  She came to this country with pretty much nothing except for my older sister and my dad, they pretty much made a living here and now it’s me and three other siblings.

Why do you love Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco?

I love Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco because ever since I was little it was always this safe place to go to.  There is nothing to worry about there.

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Carmen Sosa

Carmen Sosa

Columbia Park

Jesus Cortez

Mission

Jesus Cortez is in his senior year at Leadership High School.  His post-high school goal is to either attend a four-year college or art school.  He wants to spark creativity and artistic abilities in others by becoming an art teacher. Jesus has been a member of BGCSF for five years.

How does it feel to be selected to be Youth of the Year?

I was really happy when I found out I was selected. I didn’t think I would get selected.  When I told people, they were like, “Didn’t you already know you were going to get selected?” I’m still in shock.

What do you hope to get out of the program?

A new experience. I hope to improve my public speaking skills. I’ve heard that it’s a great experience from friends who have done Youth of the Year.  I’m really looking forward to it and I’m looking forward to getting what it has offer.

If you could have any kind of super power, what would it be?

If I could have any superpower, it would be to have telekinesis.  It seems like the most awesome power ever.  I could move objects and then also make myself fly.

What is something people may not know about you?

Something people may not know about me is that I really love art, and I love making art.

What’s one of your favorite songs and why?

“Riptide” by Vance Joy.

What is your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement is being selected for Youth of the Year, and also when I was selected to go on trek through a school program. I got to go to a very remote village in Nicaragua.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be an art teacher when I grow up.

Who is one of your role models and why?

[Clubhouse High School Services Director] Ivan Corado is my role model, because he is one of the happiest people I know. 

Why do you love BGCSF?

I have a lot of reasons I love Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco. It has given me that space where I can be comfortable and be myself and feel safe.  It’s given me a space that no program or place has ever given me before. I’m not sure how to put that in words… It’s been great.

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Jesus Cortez

Jesus Cortez

Mission

Jaienda Kumar

Visitacion Valley

Jaienda is currently a senior at Leadership High School and his post-high school goal is to attend a four-year university. Jaienda has been a member of BGCSF for nine years.

How does it feel to be selected Youth of the Year?

I’ve been wanting to do it for years now because I’ve seen other Club members do it.  I was like, ‘That’s going to be me, I want to do that next.’

What do you hope to get out of the program?

I hope to get to know myself better; better than before and better as a whole.

What is your favorite song and why?

I don’t really have one.

Ok, what about a favorite movie?

Favorite book.

Even better...what’s your favorite book?

My favorite book is, “Catcher in the Rye.”  I love that book. “Holden Caulfield”...he’s an amazing character, he wants to preserve happiness and everything and keep everything the way it is.  He can’t because he has to learn to grow.

What’s something people may not know about you when they first meet you?

Something people may not know about me when they first meet me is that I’m very enthusiastic and very outgoing once you get to know me better.

What is one of your proudest achievements?

One of my proudest achievements is probably this past year. I’ve overcome a lot of academic challenges.  I went from a 1.67 GPA all the way to a 4.0 student.

What is your biggest fear?

I don’t know. I don’t try to fear anything, just go through it.

What do you want to be when you get older?

I’m not sure. I’m undecided about it; undecided about life.

Who is one of your role models and why?

Probably Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco staff. Many of my role models come from BGCSF. They've always been there for me. I don’t have a mom or a dad, so I have Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco staff to be that parent role in my life right now.

Why do you love Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco?

They've always been there for me. Even when I least expect it, they’ve been there for me--helping me overcome any challenges, academic problems, and to meet my goals.

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Jaienda Kumar

Jaienda Kumar

Visitacion Valley

Precious Listana

Tenderloin

Precious is currently a senior at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep and her post-high school goal is to attend UC Berkeley. Precious has been a member of BGCSF for five years.

How does it feel to be selected Youth of the Year?

When I first heard that I was Youth of the Year, my very first impression would have to be confusion because—I’ve spent a lot of time in the Clubhouse, but—I didn’t know that I would get such a big honor. It gave me confidence that I can represent our Clubhouse and grow as better leader and as a person.

What do you hope to get out of the program?

I hope to inspire the young people in my Clubhouse to step up as leaders and to know that they are capable of being in that leadership position. I also want to develop more as public speaker and, of course, to network, because Boys & Girls have had such great connections.

If you could have any kind of superpower, what would it be?

Honestly the first thing that came into my mind, is to be invisible. But, I would rather have teleportation abilities because I have a problem getting to places on time.  If I can teleport anywhere, imagine how convenient my life would be.  That means I will be on time all the time.

What is something people may not know about you when they first meet you?

Many people do not know that I was born in the Philippines, and I lived there for half of my life. I moved here when I was eight years old. It’s been a really rough transition, but without it I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today.

What is one of your favorite songs and why?

My favorite song would have to be “Sweet Life” by Frank Ocean, because the lyrics are very calm and it tells you to enjoy life and live how you want to live it. Because at the end of the day, you choose how to live your life.  You choose to be happy or to not be happy.  It’s a sweet life altogether.

What is your proudest achievement?

I would have to say that my proudest achievement is getting into this regular summer program at UC Berkeley. For the past three summers, I went to a five-week program in UC Berkeley called, “Summer Math and Science Honors”.  I learned a lot about STEM and realized that I really want to major in math and hopefully integrate math to solve the problems of my community and other communities that are in need of help.

What is your biggest fear?

As of now, since I’m a senior, my biggest fear would probably have to be either choosing a college or applying to colleges.  My biggest fear is thinking about what college I want to go to since it’s four years of my life and, if you think about it, college can really shape who you are as a person.  I’m afraid that if I do choose to go to an east coast school, rather than stay here, I’m probably going to not be there for my little sister. I am afraid of losing touch with her when I’m in college.

 What do you want to be when you get older?

I don’t have a title but I know that I want to work for a non-profit organization. I also want to major in math and possibly urban planning or city planning and use both of those majors to make a title for myself; and, help those organizations and communities in need.

Who is one of your role models and why?

My role model is my dad because he is a community organizer in the Tenderloin. Ever since we moved to here, he has put in so much time and so much effort trying to change the reputation of our neighborhood, and because of him and his example I know that I want to follow in his footsteps.  Right after college, I want to start doing what he is doing and then maybe go bigger than that and help those other institutions in other third world countries, and basically through my father’s example really develop my interests and what I want to do in the future.

Why do you like Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco?

I don’t just like Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, I LOVE Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco! All Clubhouses in the entire nation have given so many youth and children, and even possibly adults, opportunities to get a head start in their education and also meet people just like yourself. At the Club, you’re surrounded by passionate people that want to make a difference in your neighborhood.  Without Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco I probably wouldn’t be as active in my neighborhood and my community.  I’m super grateful for Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, they’ve helped me academically; they’ve shaped my aspirations and all together it’s a wonderful program.

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Precious Listana

Precious Listana

Tenderloin

About The Program

The Youth of the Year Program is a three-month long leadership development program that celebrates the remarkable lives of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco members who have distinguished themselves by rising above challenging circumstances.

Finalists are chosen from their Clubhouse and Camp Mendocino based on moral character, community involvement, academic achievements, and obstacles that they have overcome.

The Timeline

From October to January, the finalists are involved in an intense leadership development program that involves public speaking, one-on-one mentorship, essay writing, and team building. And with the help of our caring staff and volunteers, these youth grow and flourish into confident leaders with inspirational visions and goals for their futures.

At the final event, each youth will tell their stories to more than 600 BGCSF friends and supporters.

The winner of BGCSF’s Youth of the Year competition moves on to compete in the Northern California Regional competition against other well-accomplished youth in the region. The judging criterion for the event consists of public speaking, one on one interview, service to Club and community and academic achievement.

The History & Prestige

The Youth of the Year program was founded more then 60 years ago through the generosity of the Reader’s Digest Foundation. Since 1947, the National Youth of the Year program has served as the primary vehicle for showcasing the exemplary achievements of Club youth. The Youth of the Year program has afforded hundreds of outstanding Club members an opportunity to meet presidents like Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. In addition, each year’s five regional finalists are honored at a congressional breakfast in Washington D. C.

As the voice for some 3.3 million youth served by Boys & Girls Clubs, National Youth of the Year winners appear before congressional committees to speak on teen issues, participate in town hall meetings, appear on television and news programs and serve as ambassadors for other youth organizations. In addition to these prestigious duties, former Youth of the Year continue to play active roles in their local Boys & Girls Clubs communities. Previous winners have excelled in every aspect of the private sector, serving as doctors, lawyers, news reporters, Peace Corps volunteers, politicians and civic leaders in their communities.

2015 Charles Schwab Youth of the Year Luncheon

yoy2014_luncheon_11-1024x6821

On February 23, BGCSF supporters will have the chance to hear some remarkable stories from our youth at the 2015 Charles Schwab Youth of the Year Luncheon. At the event, the Charles Schwab 2015 Citywide Youth of the Year will be chosen to represent BGCSF in the statewide and nationwide Youth of the Year competitions.

Event Details

February 23, 2015

11:30am – 1:30pm

The Westin St. Francis, Union Square

335 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94102
(800) 937-8461

For questions or Sponsorship Opportunities, please contact:

Brittany Wilson, BGCSF
415.445.5481 | events@kidsclub.org

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Video

Meet the Finalists


Program Overview

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Presenting Sponsor:

charles_schwab

Reception Sponsor:

blackrock

Youth Champions:

Dana & Bob Emery

Platinum Sponsors:

Sports Basement

Gold Sponsors:

Ali & Rocky Fried
Brandon & Sapna Boze
Ernst & Young
Greg & Julie Flynn
Guittard Chocolate
  Company
Jason & Jessica Moment
Meridee Moore
  & Kevin King
Mitchell & Susan Cohen
Stephanie & Bill Mellin
Unofish
Visa

Silver Sponsors:

Elizabeth & Clark Callander
LBA Realty

Venue Partner:

The Westin St. Francis

Media Partner:

San Francisco Business Times


Sponsorship Opportunities