Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s Azariah Avery was named the Indiana State Youth of the Year on Thursday. Avery, a senior at Merrillville High School and member of Merrillville Boys & Girls Club, was chosen from a field of 17 candidates from Boys & Girls Clubs across the state.
Youth of the Year is Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club members across the country since 1947. After a series of local, state, and regional levels, one outstanding young person from a Boys & Girls Club is awarded National Youth of the Year. Avery advanced to the state competition after being named Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s Youth of the Year at a reception in late February, earning her a $5,000 scholarship.
The ceremony was set to be held in Indianapolis this week, but concerns over the 2019 Novel coronavirus COVID-19 compelled organizers to change plans and hold the event remotely. Avery conducted her interviews and delivered her speech by telephone from Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s Administration and Resource Center in Portage, the organization’s president and CEO Ryan Smiley said.
“We’re so proud of Azariah and all the work she put into Youth of the Year,” Smiley said. “She’s an exceptional young woman and a leader in her Club and her community. There is no one more deserving of this honor than her.”
For being named Indiana’s Youth of the Year, Avery will receive a $2,500 scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a four-year full-ride scholarship to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, and a one-year scholarship to Ivy Tech Community College. Avery plans to attend college in August, and now has additional options to choose from to kick off her post-high school graduation journey. Avery also will move on to compete in Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 13-state Midwest Regional Youth of the Year competition.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana:
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana has been opening doors to GREAT FUTURES for Porter and Lake County youth for over 60 years. Clubs are open after school and provide great places for youth in grades K-12 to meet friends and have fun while in a safe, supervised environment. Clubs are open during holidays and in the summer. Annual membership is only $40.00. For information on membership, volunteer opportunities, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please contact your local Club by calling (219) 764-2582 or visiting bgcgreaternwi.org. Great Futures Start HERE.