Boys & Girls Clubs of America serves more than 4.6 million young people annually in all 50 states and on U.S. military bases worldwide. In Union County, the Boys & Girls Clubs (BGCUC) continues to inspire and enable young people who need to realize their full potential. They have provided them with different opportunities since 1955.

Recently, club members wrote essays and completed face-to-face interviews for a panel of judges, comprised of community leaders, including members of the BGCUC board of directors, to compete for the annual Youth of the Year honor.

“Youth of the Year is the highest honor for club members,” CEO Russell Triolo proudly stated. “Members are recognized for their contributions in promoting service to our clubs, community and family; academic success; strong moral character; life goals; and poise and public speaking ability. It is a joy to see these youth grow and develop as young adults.”

This year’s winner was Union High School sophomore Marlisa Shaw, 15. The president of the BGCUC Teen Leadership Camp and Torch Club was chosen by a panel of seven judges. At school, she maintains a 3.6 GPA and plays basketball and volleyball.

Marlisa will advance to compete against other Boys & Girls Club members across New Jersey for the state title and a $1,000 college scholarship. “I am planning to attend University of Pennsylvania to study pediatric medicine,” said Shaw.

The State Youth of the Year will then compete to be one of five regional representatives with the chance for the title of National Youth of the Year of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.