Senior at La Jolla High Community High School in Tolleson, 17 year-old Adama Kamara has been named, “Youth of the Year” for Boys & Girls Club of Metro Phoenix.
Adama was one of 12 teens selected to compete, each representing their neighboring club, with 12 clubs in total. Adama’s journey continues at the regional competition to vie for the spot of national teen spokesperson for The Boys & Girls Club of America.
“Today’s Kids, Tomorrow’s STARS” gala took place over the weekend at the Arizona Biltmore Resort to an audience of more than 1,200 business leaders, valued donors, sponsors and supporters. The annual gala is the group’s most significant fundraiser of the year and secured more than $2.1M in donated funds and funds generated from silent and live auction items.
Inventure Food’s CEO and President, Terry McDaniel was this year’s honorary chairman and served as keynote speaker and presenter. As part of the evening’s program the 12 candidates took to the mic and shared their life story, their obstacles and how the club’s programs and staff members inspired them to face and overcome those challenges.
Adama shared the story of her family being Gambian refugees. She attributes the afterschool program at the Woodrow C. Scoutten/ Tolleson Branch for encouraging her to find her “voice.”
“My mom has always said, through all the struggles there is always a breakthrough,” says Adama. “The Boys & Girls Club was our breakthrough. I found my confidence, identity and sense of belonging because of the club. The staff members and my friends became my second family, the club became my second home. ”
Adama currently volunteers at Banner Hospital and shared her goals of returning to her native country, Sierra Leone to build a hospital where all families might have access to the much-needed medical care. She is passionate about pursuing a career in medicine as an anesthesiologist.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix (BGCMP) was established in 1946 and consistently receives the highest possible rating by Charity Navigator, an organization that monitors the integrity of operations within non-profit groups.
BGCMP prides itself in preparing and motivating students to graduate high school. On average, Arizona graduates about 78 percent of high school seniors. BGCMP expects 93 percent of its high school senior club members to graduate.
“Of the 23,000 children ages 5 to 18 whom we serve, more than half live below poverty standards and/or are from single-parent homes,” says Amy Gibbons, president and executive director. “Our 12 clubs in Phoenix and the West Valley provide our young people the tools, guidance and the confidence to help each child reach their full potential.”
Currently, BGCMP also provides nearly 290,000 free hot meals every year and nearly 180,000 free after school snacks to hungry children, more hot meals served than any other charity in Arizona.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix’s “Today’s Kids, Tomorrow’s Stars” Event
Each candidate for “Youth of the Year” underwent a 16-week leadership and public speaking training program. Each honoree was treated to a special day of shopping for their gown or tux. Each participant receives a scholarship with the Maddie Levitt Scholarship Fund (donated by Ellie Zielgler, former Fiesta Bowl chairwoman) with additional scholarships awarded to the winner. Visit www.www.bgcmpstars.org to learn more about the “Youth of the Year” program. For more information about Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix, visit www.bgcmp.org
Adama is 17 Years Old.
2015 Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix – “Youth of the Year” Candidates (left to right)
Brianna Martinez – Jerry & Helen Wisotsky/Peoria Branch
Sabrina Villa -Tri-City West/Thornwood / Avondale Branch
*Adama Kamara – 2015 “Stars Winner” – Scoutten/Tolleson Branch (third from left in blue dress)
Angelica Montano – I.G. Homes Branch / Phoenix
Dayhane Vazquez – Ed Robson Family Branch /Phoenix
Angel Moreno – Harry & Sandy Rosenzweig Branch / Phoenix
Abisade “AJ” Onasanwo – Warner A. Gabel Branch / Phoenix
Anthony Rios – Spencer D. & Mary Jane Stewart Branch / Phoenix
Elena Parada – Swift Kids Branch / Glendale Branch
Desiree Brown – Louis & Elizabeth Sands Branch / Glendale Branch
Clarissa Aguilar – Jerry Colangelo Branch / Phoenix
Llydlco Mina Miranda-Fettig – MLB/AZ D-Backs Branch: Kieckhefer Family Legacy/ Phoenix