Salesian Boys & Girls Club of Los Angeles Youth of the Year Paola Gomez was selected as one of nine Area Council finalists to go on to the expanded and enhanced California Youth of the Year Celebration that took place May 19 - 21, 2014.
The two-day event offered a host of opportunities for YOY finalists to develop leadership skills, build camaraderie with their peers from other Clubs, and participate in new experiences. The first night, Paola and the other finalists went on a private tour of LinkedIn, the headquarters of the online professional networking site. The next morning, Paola went to Facebook Headquarters for a private tour, where she received professional tips on how to network with other amazing people.
The day was followed by the judging process. Five judges had the tough job of picking one ambassador to represent California in the Pacific Region Celebration. All the 9 finalist had amazing stories on what the Club meant to them.
Over the two days, the YOY finalists realized that they were all winners! Out of over 400,000 kids going to the Club every day in California, it finally hit them that they were the top 9 chosen to represent the whole state.
The Celebration ended with an amazing dinner put on by the Pacific Region Trustees of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Lucille O’Neal, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal’s mother, emceed the dinner and said she was really inspired by all the YOY finalists.
Each Finalist received a $2,000 Scholarship and the Ambassador received $10,000. All-Pro Free Safety Ronnie Lott of the San Francisco 49ers also presented each YOY finalist with an autographed football jersey.
At the end of the night, after everyone in the room heard each amazing story, Russell Wilson from the Boys & Girls Club of Vista received the honor of being named the 2014 CA State Youth of the Year.
Paola is extremely grateful for the opportunity she has received to represent the Salesian Boys & Girls Club and will continue to be an ambassador for our community and young Club members.