Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. As BGCA’s premiere youth recognition program, Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club. Youth of the Year encourages Club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic excellence, leading healthy lifestyles and demonstrating good character and citizenship. Youth of the Year honorees are shining examples and living proof that great futures start at Boys & Girls Clubs.
RHS graduate Deja Harris, an Olivet Club director who has mentored Raul, described Raul as a confident and strong-willed young man with a bubbly outgoing personality “who will not sacrifice his integrity or values to be a part of the ‘In Crowd’.”
Raul was raised by his single mother and considers Olivet— which he has attended for seven years— his second home. He faced weight problems while young, but worked hard to push through them. Now he is a member of the Reading High’s varsity basketball team, Vice President of the Rocket Keystone Club, has volunteered at summer camp for the past three summers and has received the Impact Award for Healthy Lifestyles through the healthy habits program.
Raul lives by his own personal brand, known as “Being You”. With high self-esteem and self-motivation as key qualities of his brand, he hopes to use his own trials and tribulations to inspire others to tackle adversity in their lives.
“I just hope that my personal brand can influence another young individual to pursue whatever dream they may have,” said Raul. “I want to stand as a role model for them…Furthermore, I want them to know that if they stay committed, work hard and not become influenced by peer pressure, they will succeed…Being You is the first step to becoming who you really want to be.”
Raul takes all Advanced Placement and Honors classes at Reading High School and recently was the recipient of the $60,000 Veronica Fonders’ scholarship. He plans to attend West Chester University in the fall where he will be majoring as a Financial Analyst. After college he hopes to attend Police Academy.
If Raul wins at the state competition, he will compete for Northeast Regional Youth of the Year and an additional scholarship presented by Disney, with additional support provided by University of Phoenix, Toyota and Taco Bell Foundation for Teens. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C. to compete for the title of BGCA’s National Youth of the Year.
Plaques will be presented to Raul and the other Youth of the Year finalists and Raul will be a speaker during the Steak & Burger Dinner on May 20th. Tickets to the Dinner are available for $150 and can be purchased by calling 610-373-1314.