WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This week Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) named RianSimone Harris the 2015 Military Youth of the Year in a ceremony held at the Navy Memorial Naval Heritage Center in Washington D.C. A member of Vogelweh Youth Programs in Vogelweh, Germany, RianSimone will receive a $20,000 scholarship and serve as BGCA's official youth advocate for military teens across the country and abroad.
To earn the Military Youth of the Year honor, Club youth who are served on military installations advance through local, state and regional competitions—demonstrating how they have made outstanding contributions to their family, school, community and BGCA-affiliated Youth Center, while overcoming personal obstacles. RianSimone was one of six military youth regional finalists selected to vie for the honor.
"At BGCA we are honored to provide youth development programs and services to 500,000 military kids around the world, and we are exceptionally proud to recognize this incredible young person as an advocate for the kids and teens in military families," said Terrill D. McFarland, national vice president, Military & Outreach Services, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "We believe it is our humble responsibility to help the families of our brave servicemen and women achieve great futures, and creating a home-away-from-home atmosphere is crucial to helping kids like RianSimone thrive and grow into successful young adults."
RianSimone was an active member and role model to many kids and teens of the Vogelweh Youth Center, participating in leadership and service activities. Elected president of the National Honor Society last year, she was also student body committee vice president and led her school to enact a school-wide recycling program. RianSimone also demonstrates what it means to be a good citizen, donating more than 450 hours of service to the Kaiserslautern Military Community since 2011. She plans to go to Point Loma Nazarene University this fall to study sociology and criminal justice.
Military Youth of the Year is a component of BGCA's National Youth of the Year recognition program for Boys & Girls Club members. In September, RianSimone will join five other finalists from state (off-installation) Clubs to vie for the National Youth of the Year honor and scholarship. Five judges individually interview each candidate and select the national winner on the basis of scholastic achievement, community service, and leadership ability. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of 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.
The 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 committed partner who has worked with BGCA on many Academic Success initiatives, and the Taco Bell Foundation, BGCA's premier partner for teen empowerment.
For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit www.youthoftheyear.org.
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.
SOURCE Boys & Girls Clubs of America