Vanesa Rodriguez set to receive college scholarship and vie for regional title this summer

 [KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI], April 14, 2016 – Selected among ten outstanding youth, Vanesa Rodriguez has been named the Missouri Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. The program honors our nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed and inspire. As the Missouri Youth of the Year, Vanesa will serve as an ambassador for all teens in the state, will receive a $5,000 college scholarship from BGCA, and will go on to compete in the regional Youth of the Year, ultimately vying for the national title.

Rodriguez is a currently a sophomore at William Chrisman High School in Independence, MO.  She is a member of the school’s volleyball team and was recently recognized for her achievements with a nomination to the National Academy of Future Physicians.  Rodriguez hopes to be the first person in her family to graduate from college and go on to pursue a career in the medical field.

At the Boys & Girls Clubs, Rodriguez has previously served as the Keystone Club vice-president, a teen group dedicated to leadership and community service, and she is currently serving as Keystone Club president. Rodriguez can often be seen lending a helping hand by assisting Club office staff and mentoring younger Club members.

“Vanesa and all Youth of the Year nominees are living proof that Boys & Girls Clubs across the country are fulfilling our mission of inspiring and enabling young people to achieve great futures,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO, BGCA.  “Being named Youth of the Year is a lifelong honor. As the Missouri Youth of the Year, Vanesa will serve as a spokesperson for our young people, sharing her inspiring story and leading the way to transform communities for the better.”

Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year recognition program is presented by Disney, who has supported BGCA for more than 50 years, empowering young people to reach their full potential and providing youth with access to the tools they need to build the great futures they imagine. Toyota, the Signature Sponsor of Youth of the Year, is committed to helping improve the quality of life in our communities, and has demonstrated a strong commitment to ensuring youth have access to a quality education. Additional support is provided by University of Phoenix, a national education partner that has joined with BGCA to impact academic success among youth across the country, and the Taco Bell Foundation, BGCA’s premier partner for teen empowerment.

This summer, Vanesa will compete against other Boys & Girls Club members within the Mid-West Region. If named regional winner, she will be awarded an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000. Six youth, including five regional winners and a military youth winner, will advance to Washington, D.C., in September 2016, to compete for the title of BGCA’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable for four years up to $100,000 and will have the opportunity to meet with the President of the United States in the White House.

For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit http://www.youthoftheyear.org.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City

For more than 100  years, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City has provided a fun and safe environment for youth, ages 5-18, to learn, play, meet new friends and grow. From sports, digital arts and media to group activities and tutoring, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City provides top-quality programs to more than 1,000 area youth each day.  Whether it is learning how an individual can make a difference in his/her community or learning how to swim – the Clubs strive to help youth feel important and put their dreams of a great future within reach. For more information, visit www.helpKCkids.org or facebook.com/helpKCkids

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America

For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,100 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.

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Sharon Cleaver, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, Direct Phone:  816-462-0136,
Mobile Phone: 816-674-3721, Email Address:  scleaver@helpkckids.org / Web site:  www.helpKCkids.org