The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale – celebrating its 60th anniversary this year – is pleased to announce Dalia Jimenez, a senior at Coronado High School and 12-year member of the Club’s Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch, has been named as its “2014 Youth of the Year.” Jimenez was honored with the award in front of more than 600 Scottsdale leaders during Celebrate Youth on March 22 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, along with nine other amazing teens from the greater-Scottsdale area, who each took home honors as their individual Club’s Youth of the Year, respectively. Active in the organization’s Keystone Club, What’s Hip, SMART Girls and E-Crew programs, she is also engaged in helping the greater community, accumulating hundreds of community service hours by assisting at the Cesar E. Chavez Leadership Institute’s CARE program, where she cleans houses for over 175 families in need. She also volunteers for organizations including the Tumbleweed Center, Paiute Neighborhood Center and more. Jimenez will use the scholarship money granted to her through the Youth of the Year program toward earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering starting this fall from ASU’s Barrett Honors College.
She will next move on to the statewide Youth of the Year competition in April.
In addition to this honor, Jimenez was also recently nominated as the Teen Ambassador for the State Keystone Conference, where she was named as Arizona’s “Keystoner of the Year.”
Below is an excerpt from Jimenez’s Youth of the Year speech:
A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.
I often dream of the life of a “typical teen.”
This is a vision that I have had since the age of 10, when my childhood ended. Managing a produce business at the local swap meet is what my family life revolves around, where I am expected to wake up at 4 a.m. and load the produce onto the trailer so we can set up and be ready for the first customer by 7 a.m.
Yet, every time I wake up, I cannot help but question, “Why can’t I be like everyone else?”
Worrying about financial obstacles at such a young age creates stress for both my parents and me.
My escape is the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale’s Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch – the one place where I can be a teen just like everyone else. That white and blue building shaped me to become the young woman I am today.
For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Celebrate Youth program, please visit celebrateyouthgala.org.