Boys and Girls Club Member Ariana is Named Youth of The Year

Wise beyond her years, Ariana knows the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix helped shape exactly who she is today. At the end of the year, she’ll be graduating high school and moving on to study education in college. For now, she plans to enjoy her senior year by participating in her favorite activity – Keystone Club. Whether it’s helping Club kids with homework or volunteering in the community, Ariana continues to be an exemplary member during her last year at the Club.

Q. How long have you been going to the Swift Kids Branch?

A. This is going to be my sixth year attending the Swift Kids Branch.

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

A. As a YOY, it was a great honor to represent my Club and tell my story. For me, what being YOY meant was I was the one who represented the Swift Kids Branch, every Club kid that goes here, myself, and my family. It helped me grow a lot, too, and I learned a lot about myself.

Q. What activities or programs are you a part of at the Club?

A. I’ve mostly been a part of SMART Girls, Healthy Habits, and Keystone, which is my favorite club. Keystone is a club within a club that focuses on youth leadership. We do a lot of community service within the club and the community.

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

A. The Club has definitely helped me with school. If I need a computer or help on anything, there are staff and resources I can use here. The staff has also been there for me through personal issues I’ve had. It’s nice to have someone to talk to outside of my family. I’ve also grown a lot here at the Club. I started on the youth side and then moved to the Teen Center. You create a lot of connections with people, and I like that a lot.

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

A. You can do anything. You really can. As long as you have it within yourself that you want to be something and have goals, you can achieve it! Everyone has different definitions of success. You don’t have to have a lot of money to be successful. A lot of people think of success in materialistic terms, and I think as long as you feel you’ve done all you can, that’s what’s important. You should never try to be better than

somebody or somebody you’re not. Just stay true to who you are.

Q. What are your future plans?

A. Going to the youth side and helping kids with homework made me want to become a teacher. I want to make an impact on the younger generation through education. I’m planning on going to college at the University of Arizona. I want to become an English middle school teacher.

Q. Anything else you would like to share?

A. Overall, the Club has been amazing to me. Every opportunity I’ve received has been awesome. Without the Club, I honestly wouldn’t have had the things that I have, or know the things that I know, or be who I am. The staff and the programs at the Club make a big impact on my life.

Ariana Escarzaga is a senior at Glendale High School

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