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Arcadia High School junior Jessica DuBois has been selected as the 2013 Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Youth of the Year.

DuBois, 16, is a member of the Hartley & Ruth Baker Branch, which is located in south Scottsdale. She has been involved in a variety of educational and community service programs since joining the Club more than five years ago and is an active community volunteer, logging more than 90 hours of service in recent months.

Jessica - 2013 YOYAt the Club, she is a dedicated member of several programs, including:

  • Smart Girls, which is a health, fitness, prevention/education and self-esteem program for girls ages eight to 17 designed to encourage healthy attitudes and lifestyles that will enable early adolescent girls to develop to their full potential. She also serves as a mentor to younger girls entering the program.
  • What’s Hip, which is an eight-week program for high school girls covering issues such as relationships, drug and alcohol use, self-esteem, and fashion, among others. The program culminates with a fashion show at the Rose Lane Branch.
  • eCrew, which is a program developed in partnership with Arizona State University, C4 Systems, where General Dynamics’ engineers mentor Club members and provide them with the tools and knowledge needed to potentially become engineers and business leaders.

The Youth of the Year program has been an integral part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for more than 60 years and is the highest honor given to members of the organization. This annual program begins in January when each of the Scottsdale Clubs’ nine area branches, which are located in Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, Salt River Pima-Maricopa and Hualapai Indian Communities and other Northeast Valley neighborhoods, crown their own Youth of the Year honoree. Each of these members are chosen based on their dedication to the Club, community and family, academic performance, moral character, life goals, leadership, poise and public speaking ability.

From there, each of the nine branch Youths of the Year undergo a two-month judging process, which culminates with the kids being honored and then giving a speech during the Celebrate Youth Gala & Auction, the non-profits biggest fundraising event of the year.

Presented by Tiffany & Bosco and Great American Title, the annual gala, which took place on March 9 at Talking Stick Resort and Casino Arizona, included a dinner, silent and live auctions, paddle raiser, and live entertainment by Club members.

Katie 1During the gala, DuBois shared her dream of becoming a pediatric nurse one day – a dream much closer thanks to her Youth of the Year prizes, which included a $5,000 scholarship from General Dynamics C4 Systems, a laptop from NPCE Technology Solutions and a Young Leadership Training scholarship from U & Improved.

Her eight fellow branch Youths of the Year were also rewarded during the gala, each receiving a $1,000 scholarship from General Dynamics C4 Systems and Google tablets from NPCE Technology Solutions. They included: Ariana Alvez, Samantha Elder, Amari Gonzales, Dani Haboush, Alexa Jenouri, Marissa Masters, Kristofferson Walker and Lane Yazzie.

2013 Gala Title sponsors were Tiffany & Bosco and Great American Title, with other major sponsors including General Dynamics C4 Systems, Republic Services, Go Daddy, Talking Stick Resort and Casino Arizona.

This event caps off a whirlwind 12 months for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, which also included:

  • The Clubs’ Lehi Branch, which serves youth from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, finishing construction and hosting the grand opening of its new $50,000 Teen Center, which includes a performance stage, upgraded fitness equipment, a computer lab, décor improvements and a painted mural representing the Native American culture.
  • The Club’s Red Mountain Branch, which also serves youth from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, being honored with a National Award of Merit for Program Excellence in Health & Life Skills from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
  • The Club’s Vestar Branch, which serves youth from the Desert Ridge and North Phoenix areas, being named the top branch in the nation by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Stephen Schwanz

Busy “Angel,” Stephen Schwanz, Impacts Scottsdale Youth

Busy “Angel,” Stephen Schwanz, Finds Time to Impact Scottsdale Youth

It’s a little-known fact, but in 1995, Scottsdale got itself an angel.

Stephen SchwanzIt was that year that DC Ranch’s own Stephen Y. Schwanz finished his term as president of the Executive Council for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix, which is now EC70, and turned his sights to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale.

Eager to impact the more than 16,000 children serviced by the organization, he jumped in with an immediate hole-in-one for the Clubs – literally – developing a celebrity fundraising golf tournament that is today known as the Mark Grace Celebrity Golf Invitational. Over the years, the event has helped to raise more than a million dollars for the Boys & Girls Clubs while exposing the organization’s programs to sports stars from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, San Francisco Giants and many more.

But Schwanz was just getting started.

His next order of business – Vine & Dine, a fundraiser held each year at the Scottsdale Galleria with food and wine samplings. Within a few months, Schwanz re-imagined the event into what is now Uncorked & Unplugged, one of the premiere taste events in the state, offering guests a variety of gourmet foods, three stages of live entertainment, and the opportunity to sample premium wines and spirits as well as domestic and imported beers.

And Schwanz is not done yet.

Today, Schwanz has taken a leadership role as chairman of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s annual giving campaign, “Angels for Kids, Mentors for Life.”

“This campaign provides necessary resources for unique learning experiences while instilling a sense of belonging and impact,” said Schwanz. “The campaign’s theme reflects the strong and valuable mentoring that members receive from our trained staff and dedicated volunteers.”

Due to the generosity of key donors helping to cover the costs of this campaign 100 percent of any donor’s investment in Angels goes directly to the more than 100 Club programs.

Just some of the key programs include:

  • Healthy Habits, which empowers youth to eat right covers the power of choice, calories, vitamins and minerals, the food pyramid and appropriate portion size.
  • MethSMART, which is aimed at the prevention of methamphetamine abuse.
  • Passport to Manhood, which teaches responsibility while reinforcing positive behavior in male Club members ages 11 to 14.
  • SMART Girls, which is a small-group health, fitness, prevention/education and self-esteem enhancement program designed to meet the developmental needs of girls ages 8-12 and 13-17.
  • Money Matters, which teaches financial responsibility and independence among middle and high school Club members by building their basic money management skills.
  • Movie Making, which teaches the movie making production process from screen writing, story board creation, set and costume design to the actual acting, directing, filming, and then editing of the productions.
  • NetSmartz, which is an internet safety program conducted for new members before they use the computers in our technology centers.
  • Torch and Keystone Clubs, which are small group leadership and service clubs for youth ages 11-13 and 14-18, respectively.
  • Leaders In Training, which allows members ages 11-15 to volunteer and learn basic job responsibilities and work habits during our summer months as unpaid staff assistant.
  • Be Great Graduate, which is focused on academic success, on-time grade progression and ultimately high school graduation.

The focus of each program, all made possible with the help of Schwanz and Angels for Kids, is to help kids in Greater Scottsdale develop:

  • Positive self-identities
  • Scholastic, career, social, emotional and cultural competencies
  • Desire to remain involved in their community
  • Health and well-being
  • Moral compass

For more information about how to become a Scottsdale Angel like Schwanz, please visit bgcs.org/get-involved/angels-for-kids.