The Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids announced Jacqueline Calderon (18 years old) as the 2022 Youth of the Year. Calderon received $1,000 in scholarships from presenting sponsor Lake Michigan Credit Union after competing among other Grand Rapids-based youth.
The Youth of the Year is an annual event that honors exceptional Club members who display outstanding character and leadership skills, excel academically, and who give back to their communities. It is the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program that celebrates young people ages 14-18 for their commitment to community service, academic success, good character and citizenship, and establishing long-term goals.
“The Clubs has certainly impacted my life. It’s given me a chance to discover a few things I probably would not have discovered if I had not stepped through those doors. I’ve learned about parts of me I never knew existed and have grown as a leader,” said Calderon. “As the Youth of the Year, I believe I can represent the youth of America by showing what it’s like to see everyone and anyone as who they are authentically. I want to demonstrate that we can make this world a better place together. I appreciate this opportunity to share what I believe in with my community.”
Calderon competed among four other youth including: Earnest Robinson, Javeonn Morgan, and Justyce McIntosh. Each candidate will receive $500 in scholarships for their participation, courtesy of Lake Michigan Credit Union.
“Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Club member can receive and we are so proud of Jackie for earning this prestigious title,” said Patrick Placzkowski, the CEO of the BGCGR. “Every child has a home at the Boys & Girls Clubs and we are humbled that they choose to spend their time with us. We remain committed to preparing each youth for their bright futures and cannot wait to see what they accomplish.”
The Youth of the Year was determined by a panel of judges. Judges reviewed applications, speeches, interviews and rated criteria based on home & family, moral character, community, school, service to the Club, life goals and obstacles overcome. The mission of the BGCGR is to enhance the character of youth through recreation, education and other positive experiences in partnership with the Grand Rapids Police Department.