Boys and Girls Club High School Student Receives Youth of The Year Award

As Gabrielle gets ready to conquer her senior year in high school, she reflects on her time at the Club. Her time surrounded by Club kids reinforces her goal to study medicine in college so she can have a successful career in Pediatrics. Her proven leadership skills in school and at the Club are sure to help her achieve her dreams.

Q. How long have you been attending the Louis & Elizabeth Sands Branch?

A. Eleven years.

Q. Which activities and programs are you a part of at the Club?

A. I am President of Keystone, so I organize community service projects, interview potential Keystone members and arrange Friday night teen events. I’ve also played summer volleyball for a few years and I work in the Leaders in Training Program.

Q. How has the Club helped you in other aspects of your life—school, at home, sports?

A. The Club showed me how to be a leader, not only in school, but in my everyday life. I learned how to be a leader at home by helping my mom and setting an example for my brother. In school, I was encouraged to shine my light on campus and be a leader in different clubs that I’m in such as Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Society of Female Scholars. I try to help the community a lot through all of these clubs.

Q. You were chosen as a 2016 Youth of the Year (YOY). How did you feel about that? What does that entail?

A. I was honored to be chosen. My friends were YOY before and they told me about the experience. It was life-changing for me because we got to learn how to become better speakers in front of people. The aspect of leadership also ties in with it because we are shown as an example to Club members since everyone saw my poster and picture at the Club. I also met new people and created lifelong friendships.

Q. What advice would you give to younger kids about succeeding in life?

A. Follow your heart. Do what you want to do in life. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something. Growing up, I was setting a standard of trying to please people, like my parents, and only wanting to do what they wanted me to do. As I grow up, I realize I can do anything I want and persevere through obstacles to succeed and do well in life.

Q. What are your future plans?

A. After high school, I plan to go to college and study medicine. Hopefully, I can work with kids in Pediatrics. Being able to work with younger kids and experience different age groups at the Club has reassured me that I want to work with kids. I love their personalities and the stories they tell.

Q. Anything else you would like to share?

A. The current Teen Specialist, Erica, has been here for three years. She’s one of my best friends even though she’s my teen specialist. I tell her everything and I feel like she helps me with a lot of stuff I’m experiencing at school. Our Club members know she cares because of the way she acts in the Teen Room and everything she does. It’s cool to have a mentor you can go to for advice, especially in high school.

Gabrielle Johnson is a senior at Sandra Day O’Connor High School

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