Youth of the Year

Zhane EllisonYOY Logo- 2015-16

EXCEPTIONAL TEEN RECIEVES MOST PRESTIGIOUS HONOR; NAMED CONNECTICUT YOUTH OF THE YEAR BY BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF AMERICA

Z’hane Ellison set to receive college scholarship and vie for regional title this summer

New Haven, CT, March 17, 2016– Selected among several local outstanding youth, Z’hane will compete against other Boys & Girls Club members for the Connecticut Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). The Youth of the Year program honors our nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed and inspire. As the new Youth of the Year for New Haven, 16 year old Z’hane is a true example of an extraordinary young woman recognized by BGCA for her leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle.

“The Youth of the Year candidates make me incredibly proud each year. I know their stories -how much each of them has overcome to reach their goals. It also highlights the impact of our work with youth and their families. The parents and staff are beaming with pride each year. These young people truly inspire all of us.” Stephanie Barnes, Executive Director.

LocalYOYEvent2016DSC_0436Z’hane has been a Club member at the Boys & Girls Club of New Haven for a little over two years. Though she started off as a shy and reserved young lady, Z’hane has matured into a confident young woman. “My experiences at the Boys & Girls Club of New Haven have helped me grow as a person and really learn to believe in myself.” As a counselor in training (C.I.T.) she began with the 7-8 year old group. She actively serves as a role model, mentor and homework helper. Recently, Z’hane was able to share her passion for fashion design with other members of the Club when she organized a Fashion Club at the Club. Z’hane is also a member of the Keystone Club, a leadership program for teens which provides opportunities to participate in activities that focus on Academic Success, Career Preparation and Community Service.

A junior at New Haven Academy, Z’hane has received honors this year and looks forward to challenging herself academically throughout high school. She is currently using the Fashion Club as the platform for her Senior Capstone Project for school. She strives to set an example for young children to overcome their insecurities and hopes to inspire them to never give up on their dreams.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year recognition program is presented by Disney, who has supported BGCA for more than 50 years, empowering young people to reach their full potential and providing youth with access to the tools they need to build the great futures they imagine. Toyota, the Signature Sponsor of Youth of the Year, is committed to helping improve the quality of life in our communities, and has demonstrated a strong commitment to ensuring youth have access to a quality education. Additional support is provided by University of Phoenix, a national education partner that has joined with BGCA to impact academic success among youth across the country, and the Taco Bell Foundation, BGCA’s premier partner for teen empowerment.

If Z’hane wins at the state competition scheduled to take place in Hartford, Connecticut on Thursday, April 28th, she will compete for the title of Northeast Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C., in September 2016, to compete for the title of BGCA’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable each year up to $100,000 and will have the opportunity to meet with the President of the United States in the White House.

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For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit http://www.youthoftheyear.org.

About The Boys & Girls Club of New Haven
The mission of the Boys & Girls Club of New Haven is to “Inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.” Its goal is to provide children and teens with a safe positive fun place to learn and grow. It seeks this goal and fulfills its mission through delivery of five major programs: After School, Summer Vacation Camp, The Club for Teens, Weekend Kids Club, and competitive Sports programs.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (http://www.GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,100 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.