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Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana

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Gretna Student Wins Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana's Youth of the Year Award

Westbank Club member DeVontré Parker will compete for state Youth of the Year.

Grenta, LA, March 22, 2015 --( DeVontré O'Chey Parker, a member of the Boys & Girls Club in Gretna, has been named “Youth of the Year” for Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana. Parker will now have the opportunity to compete for the Louisiana state honor and a college scholarship at the state capitol in Baton Rouge at the end of the month.

Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. As Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles. The Youth of the Year program encourages Club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles and contributing to their communities. Youth of the Year honorees are shining examples and living proof that great futures start at Boys & Girls Clubs.

“DeVontré has really found his voice as a member of the Boys & Girls Club, and he has emerged as a true leader who is respected by his peers,” said Will Giannobile, director of the Westbank Unit of Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana. “We are proud of what he has accomplished as a member of the Westbank Club.” Ashleigh Foxworth, the Club’s teen program coordinator, has mentored Parker for the past few years. “DeVontré is committed to making an impact on the world and leaving his mark on the Boys & Girls Club,” said Foxworth.

Parker is a sophomore at West Jefferson High School, where he is an honor roll student and has qualified for the TOPs program. He has been a member of the Westbank Club for more than four years, and has been elected president of the Keystone Club, a leadership development program for teens, for the past two years. Parker hopes to attend Louisiana State University and major in Sports Medicine.

“The Boys & Girls Club has had a great impact on my life,” Parker wrote in his essay application. Bullying has been an issue he has faced in school. “[Bullying] is an obstacle I face every day. My time at the Boys & Girls Club has helped me deal with that.”

If chosen as national Youth of the Year, Parker wrote: “I want to make a difference and have an impact on bullying for all youth. I think my purpose in life is to be a voice. I want to speak for others and for what is right.”

Giving back to his community and helping others has been an important part of Parker’s Club experience that has propelled his personal growth. “My time at the Boys & Girls Club has helped me to become a better leader. It has also allowed me to enjoy what I love doing the most, helping other people. I am more confident in myself and in what I can accomplish. I grow each day that I am at the Club.”

If Parker wins at the state competition, he will receive a $5,000 scholarship and advance to compete for the title of Southeast Region Youth of the Year. Regional winners receive an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000. Six youth, including five regional winners and a military winner, advance to the National Youth of the Year competition for a chance at an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable up to $100,000 for four years. This year, Disney is the presenting sponsor of the Youth of the Year program, with additional support provided by University of Phoenix, Toyota and the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana

Since 1965, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana has provided after school and summer enrichment opportunities for children and teens in the greater New Orleans metropolitan area. Boys & Girls Clubs are built on the belief that every child deserves a great future. Our mission is to inspire all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. Our vision is for every Club member to be on track to graduate high school with a plan for the future, showing good character and citizenship and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Today Boys & Girls Clubs serve over 1,100 young people annually at our Club sites in Covington, Gretna, New Orleans and Slidell. Clubs are open during the after school hours and in the summer to children and teens between the ages of 6 and 18. Clubs are staffed by full-time professionals who provide youth with programming in five core areas: Education/Career, The Arts, Health & Life Skills, Character & Leadership and Sports/Fitness/Recreation. Membership dues are kept low to ensure that all young people can afford to participate.
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Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana
Katie Ives

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