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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City recognized and celebrated the 2021 “Youth of the Year” Thursday evening.

You can watch the special event in the video player on this page.

Here are the 2021 Youth of the Year participants:

  • Breidenthal Unit – Jimena M.
  • Hawthorne Unit – Aleisa W.
  • Independence Unit – Say’v’on L.
  • J&D Wagner Unit – Ady C.
  • Olathe Unit – Malakhi H.
  • Thornberry Unit – Sanay C.

All exceptional finalists, Aleisa W. was announced as the winner. She’ll receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Boys & Girls Clubs, plus a $5,0000 scholarship from McCarthy Auto Group.

Aleisa is a 10-year club member at Hawthorne Unit, and a sophomore at Van Horn High School. She has a 3.7 GPA, and participates in debate, track & field and basketball. She intends to continue her education at Howard University, where she hopes to align her interests in advocacy and social justice into a career in civil rights law.

Aleisa participated in FOX4’s special 2020 townhall — Be Heard: A Conversation About Race in Kansas City.

Youth of the Year (YOY) has been Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s (BGCA) premier recognition program since 1947, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club members. Participation in the program is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can achieve.

To achieve the title of Youth of the Year on any level, Club members have demonstrated that they embody the values of leadership and service, academic excellence, and healthy lifestyles. They exemplify the critical impact that Boys & Girls Clubs have on the lives of young people.

You can follow the clubs on social media at these links: