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JACKSONVILLE, FL / February 28, 2019 – Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida is proud to celebrate some of its finest members at the 2019 Youth of the Year ceremony held last Thursday. Beaches Boys & Girls Club member, Keith E. Gooch, II, an 18-year-old senior at Fletcher High School, was named Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s 2019 Youth of The Year. Arlington Elementary Boys & Girls Club member, Raniyah Colvin, was named Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s Junior Youth of The Year.

Executive Area Director, Yvonne Thompson, Keith Gooch, II, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s Youth of The Year and Paul Martinez, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida.

Executive Area Director, Yvonne Thompson, Keith Gooch, II, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s Youth of The Year and Paul Martinez, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida.

Raniyah Colvin, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s Junior Youth of The Year and Paul Martinez, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida.

Raniyah Colvin, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida’s Junior Youth of The Year and Paul Martinez, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida.

Being named Youth of The Year is the highest honor bestowed upon Club members. These individuals exemplify Boys & Girls Clubs’ mission and the impact Clubs produce in the lives of Club members.

 A total of 20 Junior and Youth of The Year candidates from across Northeast Florida Boys & Girls Clubs were recognized for their academic achievements, leadership, character and integrity at Thursday’s award ceremony hosted at Bridge Boys & Girls Club – Weaver Zone. Candidates’ parents, Boys & Girls Club board members and staff along with Kids Hope Alliance representatives were in attendance to support our Northeast Florida youth and encourage their future success.

“This award means a lot to me because it shows all the hard work I’ve put in after all these years at Boys & Girls Clubs has paid off. It shows how I’ve overcome and that I’m headed in the right direction,” said Keith, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida Youth of The Year. Keith intends to attend Florida State College Jacksonville to earn his associate degree in Computer Science and hopes to transfer to University of North Florida to earn his bachelor’s degree.

Keith offers young people looking to achieve their success a word of advice, “Don’t get caught up with the wrong crowd. Always strive for success and follow the things that will help you succeed.”

Youth of The Year is an annual recognition program, organized by Boys & Girls Clubs of America to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of Club members since 1947. Boys & Girls Club members from across the nation begin their journey by applying through their local Clubs with the hopes of being selected as their organization’s Youth of The Year representative. Keith will move on to the State competition with hopes to advance to Regionals, and then the National Youth of the Year competition. Applicants are chosen based on four categories: candidate essay, verbal interview, public speaking and overall application quality.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida is proud of our 20 Youth of The Year candidates who are role models representing leadership and advocating for all our youth across our organization.

You can view all the event pictures on our Facebook page by clicking HERE