Sometimes in our work we come across very special young people – youth who face adversity and not only overcome it, but excel and lift-up all those who surround them through their leadership and example. Each year the Boys and Girls Club of Benton County honors such a youth through the Youth of the Year award. Honorees are chosen through a competitive selection process from among their peers. The winner advances from the local competition to a state, regional, and national competition.
This year’s outstanding Youth of the Year is Tania Perez from our Rogers Unit. At 17 years old, she is not only thought highly by the selection committee by also by her peers. Now in her final year at Rogers High, she has been elected by her class as the Senior Class Representative. At the Club she is an active member of the Keystone Club, a service learning and leadership club for teens. She holds the esteemed office of Vice President in the club and has logged more than 200 hours in community service, doing everything from preparing food packs for Haitian earthquake victims and raising funds to feed hungry children in Africa to working with the elderly.
Because her parents work hard and put in long hours to support their family, Tania has assumed the role of caregiver for her three younger brothers. This responsibility has provided the motivation for her to renew her commitment to school and to set life and career goals. She is focused on her goals and will not allow obstacles to waylay them. She plans to attend NWA Community College and ultimately pursue a BS in Nursing. Because school doesn’t come easy to her, while other teens may be out partying Tania will be studying or building her resume through volunteer work. Her favorite saying is “everything is difficult before it becomes easy”. She will be the first in her family to graduate from high school. She has found positive support for her goals through her friends and staff at the Club. Tania is not only a positive role model for her brothers but for our Club kids in her role as a Jr. Staff member. We are very proud of her and know she will reach her aspirations.