BGCA Youth of the Year 2013

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Aaron Young, SMBGC CEO and Jason Meugniot, SMBGC Board Member

Someone asked me yesterday if my trip to Washington DC last week was for “business or pleasure.”  I said, “Pleasure, for sure.”  Here’s why…

“For 47 years, Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Youth of the Year program recognizes Club members who, with the help of their Club, have met personal challenges head-on and, despite the odds, have given back to their Club and community.  Youth of the Year winners have demonstrated service to Club, community and family; academic success; strong moral character; life goals; and poise and public speaking ability.”  —bgca.org

Five of my SMBGC colleagues and I attended the Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Youth of the Year gala in the Senate Hearing Room on Capitol Hill in DC last week.

Kiana Knolland

“The Boys & Girls Club has been an integral part of my life.”–Kiana Knolland

Kiana Knolland took the honor this year from a field of amazing candidates, including Santa Monica’s own Gretchen Galanis.

While in DC, Aaron Young and I met with California Sen. Barbara Boxer’s office, leaders from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the After School Alliance to raise awareness about the importance of funding after school programs for the children in the United States who need it most.

Colin Powell

Former Sec. of State Colin Powell

Condoleeza Rice

Former Sec. of State Condoleeza Rice

MSNBC’s Luke Russert emceed the ceremony with speeches from former Secretaries of State Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and over 50 congressmen, military officers and government agency heads.

The SMBGC operates 10 separate club locations in Los Angeles serving over 1,000 children a day during the summer months.  Programs focus on: Character & Leadership; Education & Career; Health & Life Skills; The Arts; Sports, Fitness & Recreation; and Specialized Initiatives.

The Club also offers STEM, Power Hour, and Smart Girls programs. Computer repair and programming initiatives, homework assistance, and college entry counseling are also available to the kids, all for only $20 per year.

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