Ray Reyes Column, March 28, 2018: Larissa Izaguirre, Youth of the Year
Since 1947, the Youth of the Year has been Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of our teens. Club members who earn the Youth of the Year title embody the values of leadership, service, character and academic excellence. They exemplify the critical impact that Boys & Girls Clubs have on the lives of young people.
Each year, Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club selects a member to be our Youth of the Year to represent the Club in competitions at the state, regional, and national level to receive scholarships and further recognition. Each candidate for this honor must submit an in-depth application and participate in a lengthy interview process conducted and evaluated by a committee of board, staff and community members.
This year, our Club’s Youth of the Year is Larissa Izaguirre, a natural leader with a talent for public speaking. Larissa lives in Bayville and is currently a senior at Locust Valley High School. She is an IB Diploma Candidate with an A+ average. A member of the National Honors Society and the National Spanish Honors Society, Larissa’s teachers have praised her for her intelligence and dedication, her maturity and clear sense of purpose, her kindness and consideration for others. Larissa is the captain of the LVHS Kickline Team and a performer in the Spring Musical. At school, Larissa leads by example in her willingness to help others and in her belief that she “was put on this planet to make a difference.”
Larissa joined the Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club when she was in the second grade. As an active member for more than eleven years, she has participated in many of the Club’s programs including College Prep, City Club and Money Matters. Larissa wants to encourage other teens to stay involved in the Club and to actively participate in the opportunities offered there. “The Club has gifted me with the resources I need to succeed in every aspect of my life and I am forever grateful.”
As vice president of the Keystone Club, Grenville Baker’s community service and leadership organization, Larissa has performed more than 100 service every year in high school. Larissa has served food at local soup kitchens, rebuilt homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, and coordinated food drives. As vice president, she has planned Club events, organized volunteers and coordinated service projects. She was selected to attend Keystone’s national conference in Orlando, Dallas, and Chicago.
This fall Larissa will become the second member of her family to go to college, following in the footsteps of her older sister. I know I speak for our entire Club, staff and members alike, in saying that Larissa is an exceptional young woman and we are so proud to have her represent us this year in Albany and beyond as our Club’s National Youth of the Year.