The Scholarship Fund is the capstone of the Club’s efforts of making higher education a reality for our young people. The Club’s goal with the Scholarship Fund is to provide members attending a higher education institute with significant financial support. As the Club continues to serve its young people on their academic journey, it is our goal to not only educate our members on higher education but also secured scholarship moneys so that higher education can become a reality for them.
YOU can play a vital role in sending our young people to college by supporting the Scholarship Fund today! 100% of the Scholarship Fund proceeds go directly to awarding deserving Boys & Girls Clubs members financial aid in order to realize the academic dreams.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Redlands-Riverside’s 2016 Youth of the Year is Adrian Michael Johnson Jr. Adrian, an aspiring actor, grew up around drug use and moved around, causing him to be pessimistic, depressed, and hypersensitive. He was failing his freshman year of high school when he started coming to the Club’s Casitas del Valle site in Moreno Valley. “For a long time, I didn’t think I’d graduate, and the Club staff helped me,” he said. Adrian also developed a more optimistic outlook, got help connecting with peers, and learned to be calm and patient in different situations. He started helping other members with schoolwork, and pitched in for activities and cleanup. Being a Club member “taught me family isn’t just who you’re related to, it’s who loves you, who you love, and I found that at my site,” he said.
He resists drugs and other unhealthy behavior “because I don’t want something as negative as drugs to affect my future, to affect who I am … I stick to who I am and don’t let anybody influence me.” Adrian, now a senior at Rancho Verde High School, is active in his school’s theater program, and wants to study acting in college. His dream is to bring the arts to low-income communities.
Staff motivation and a genuine sense of interest in her life is why Youth of the Year Ambassador Destiny Puente attends the Boys & Girls Clubs.
When she struggled in school, Club staff mentored Destiny in achieving good grades. Today, she’s a high school junior who works serving food at the Club and is vice president of Keystone Club.
Destiny plans to go to college and be an entrepreneur.
“I have always wanted to have my own business,” she says.
She also aspires to be an advocate for teen pregnancy prevention.
“The Boys & Girls Club keeps me away from bad choices and helps me stay away from peer pressure … and from being on the streets and making mischief. Instead, the Club helps me with my homework and helps me achieve my goals and motivates me to be a better person than I ever knew I could be,” she says.
Working as a Club Junior Staff member has helped not only Youth of the Year Ambassador Stephanie Puente, it has financially assisted her family of eight with their day-to-day needs.
“My mother was raising all of us and didn’t have money to buy clothes and other necessary items we needed for school,” she says. “I’m so thankful and blessed the Club was there to help.”
Stephanie, a high school junior, intends to take the skills she learned to college. She plans to become an attorney, and speak out against teen pregnancy, bullying and racism.
“Coming to the Club helped me see life’s not just a struggle, and see that there is a silver lining,” she says.
Youth of the Year Ambassador Isabel Cruz, a high school sophomore, credits Boys & Girls Clubs for helping her realize her passion for writing and motivating her to do better in school.
“Before joining the Boys & Girls Club, I got terrible grades and didn’t care much for school and didn’t want anything to do with it,” she says. “But joining the Club, and seeing so many kids want to do well in school and want to go to college and get a great start on life, made me want better for myself and try my hardest in school.”
A friend she made at the Club encouraged her blossoming desire to write. She wants to be like “The Fault in Our Stars” author John Green, or become a journalist. Her goal is to attend UC Berkeley.
She hopes she can inspire teenagers to stop name calling and stereotyping.
At risk for not graduating high school on time, Youth of the Year Ambassador Karla Ponce came to Boys & Girls Clubs hoping to refocus. Today Karla, a high school senior, says, “The Club has helped me stay focused on school and motivated me to go to college.”
Karla is also active at the Club as a volunteer and Junior Staff member. She wants to be a radiologist and positive role model for youth.
“My time at the Boys & Girls Club is well spent. Instead of being bored, I can go to the Club and learn things about college, community service, and knowing how to be a lady in the future,” she says.
Youth of the Year Ambassador Adrian Raquel Chavez was only concerned with hanging out with her friends when she began coming to the Club, and was getting Cs and Ds in school.
Over the next several years, Club staff pushed Adrian to change her priorities. She earned As and Bs, and became a leader in the Club. Now, as a high school junior, Adrian plans to attend college and pursue a career in law enforcement.
She is committed to caring for the environment, and fighting bullying and teen suicide.
“We have to put an end to bullying now – if not, people will cut themselves, be mean to other people or sadly end their lives to try to get away from it,” she says. “Before you speak, think of what you are doing – a wrong word can end someone’s life.”
Diego Soto, 2016 Ambassador
Youth of the Year Ambassador Diego Soto was often teased growing up because he was bigger than other kids. It could have made him antisocial, or angry.
“Luckily, I have the Club to help me be a better person,” he says.
The Club was a safe haven where he learned to be confident in social settings and “just be a kid.”
Now a high school senior and varsity baseball player, Diego is headed to Cal State East Bay to pursue a degree in sports therapy.
“Without the Club, I don’t think I’d be able to speak one on one, let alone in front of judges,” he says, adding, “The Club didn’t just make me a leader, I’m also able to be led. I’m not just a leader -- I’m also a worker.”
His experiences growing up made him passionate about putting a stop to bullying.