LAWRENCE — The Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence has announced that Briyith Betances was named Massachusetts Youth of the Year and will go on to the Northeast Regional Youth of the Year competition in June. She received a $1,000 scholarship from the sponsor, Tupperware, as well as a $5,000 renewable scholarship from the Kraft family of Boston in memory of Myra Kraft.
Betances, who will graduate Friday from Central Catholic High School, is a long-time member of the BGCL at the Beacon Unit, located in the Beacon Housing Project in South Lawrence. She has demonstrated strong leadership at the Club and is currently serving as President of the Keystone Club youth leadership program. She also serves as the Beacon Unit’s dance instructor, .
She is an honor roll student and active student leader, and is very involved in community service projects at the school. She launched a service project called “The Baby Benefit,” raising money to purchase baby food, diapers and wipes for Brigid’s Crossing, a homeless shelter for teen mothers in Lowell. Briyith has also been involved with the Marist Youth Mentoring program at Central Catholic, pairing high school students with first and second graders at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence.
Betances has mentored an 8-year old boy for the past three years. With her support and encouragement, he has improved as a student and is currently on the third grade honor roll. She plans to attend Fitchburg State in the fall, and aspires to be a broadcast journalist.
The Youth of the Year program gives young people a voice and a path to showcase their personal development. Through essays and speeches, YOY candidates illustrate how they have turned their aspirations into actions and overcome obstacles to achieve success. Each Boys & Girls Club is represented by a locally selected Youth of the Year, and 37 teens competed for the Massachusetts title. The winner of the Northeast Regional competition will go on to the selection process for the National Youth of the Year, who becomes the spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Club of America for the year.
In past years, the Boys & Girls of Lawrence has produced an unprecedented two national Youth of the Year winners and two runners up, each of whom visited the White House to meet the President in the Oval Office.