Q. How long have you been going to the Swift Kids Branch?
A. I have been at the Swift Kids Branch for four years.
Q. What activities or programs are you a part of at the Club?
A. At the Club, I am a part of Keystone, which is a Club within a Club that focuses on youth leadership. Coming soon is Healthy Habits and SMART girls, which I will also be joining.
Q. How has the Club helped you in other aspects of your life – school, at home, sports?
A. The Club has helped me tremendously in other aspects of my life. It’s the one place where I’m able to get away from issues going on at home or at school. It’s my getaway and there’s such a positive vibe at the Club that makes you feel at place there. I’ve been able to confide in staff and ask them for advice and I’m able to get help with my homework.
Q. You were chosen as a Youth of the Year (YOY). How do you feel about that? What does that entail?
A. I feel very proud to be chosen as YOY. It’s a huge honor to represent my Boys and Girls Club and share my journey. The Club is really where I’ve matured as a person and to know that the staff at my Club have seen the progress I’ve made throughout the years and choice me to represent them is such an amazing feeling. I feel that being YOY entails me to be a positive influence. I should be a responsible individual and impact those around me. As YOY, I should also stay true to myself because I was chosen for the person am.
Q. What advice would you give to younger kids about succeeding in life?
A. The advice I would give to younger kids is through all the hardships in life stay true to yourself. Lots of people are going to try and bring you down, tear you apart, and disappoint you. But no matter what you are capable of bigger and better things in this world. Don’t let opportunities pass you by and when life gets tough think positively and focus on your dreams and aspirations.
Q. What are your future plans?
A. I plan to of course graduate from high school in the spring of 2017 and then go to the University of Arizona to either major in Education or become a dentist.
Q. Anything else you would like to share?
A. I would just like to say that the Boys and Girls Club has really changed my life. It’s the one part of the day I enjoy the most and I get to do lots of fun and exciting things. It’s my second home and the place where I feel I’ve grown. Being a Club kid is such an awesome life changing experience and without the Club I honestly do not know where I’d be at today.
Ariana Escarzaga is a junior at Glendale High School.