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YOUTH OF THE YEAR
Established in 1947 by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Youth of the Year program develops Club members to be articulate, well-groomed and knowledgeable spokespersons for their Club and community. The program recognizes and celebrates young people’s commitment to public service, academic performance, character, long-term goals and personal challenges. Each year, a Boys & Girls Club member is selected to represent the Club in State and Regional competitions. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County named Whitney Stewart as the Organizational Youth of the Year. It is at the Club level that the Youth of the Year program has its greatest impact in developing young people.
Whitney Stewart, grew up in a single-parent household with not many resources. Although, the youngest, Whitney is the trailblazer, always setting the bar high for herself and her brothers. She carries that leadership quality to her community, where she implements community activities, such as starting a Drama Club at the Gene Matthews Boys & Girls Club in North Port.
Whitney was president of the BGCSC Torch Club, a unique pre-teen leadership development experience that provides activities in three focus areas: academic success, career preparation and community service. She was editor of her middle school’s yearbook and now attends Sarasota Military Academy and the Captain of Bravo Company, commanding 32 freshman cadets. Additionally, Whitney was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society, volunteered in the Peer Mentoring Program and participates in her church’s Youth Ministries. She founded S.E.E.D TO S.O.I.L. (Students Engaged in Environmental Discovery to Students Organized to Improve Lifestyles), creating an organic vegetable garden, and with the schools’ participation, plans on distributing the fruits and vegetables to those less fortunate.