Alexia L., 2016-2017 Northeast Youth of the Year
After being named the Northeast Youth of the Year in 2016, Alexia went on to begin her studies at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia where she is currently majoring in political science on a pre- law track. Alexia began her first leadership position at the university as Chairperson of Community Service for the newly chartered Hampton University Chapter of National Council of Negro Women. With the organization she led various community service events and connected college students with the Hampton Roads community to lend a helping hand.
Following her freshman year, she returned to her home of Atlantic County, New Jersey to serve as a juvenile court intern at the Atlantic City Superior Courts. That same year Alexia was awarded the “Beating the Odds Award” from the Atlantic County Youth Advocates Program and the New Jersey Superior Courts.
Following her internship, Alexia returned to Hampton to enter into her sophomore year where she ran one of the first facets of the nation’s largest youth organizing program called NextGen America on a Historically Black College & University campus. Through her efforts, Alexia educated and motivated her campus to register and participate in the Midterm elections. In addition to this, she modeled in her school’s Homecoming Fashion Show.
During the summer of 2018, Alexia moved to Richmond, VA to continue organizing for NextGen America. Returning for her junior year she maintained the position as leader of NextGen HamptonU and collaborated with Planned Parenthood, NAACP, and various black Greek lettered organizations. In the 4 months before the midterm elections Alexia led the charge in registering over 1000 new HU students, threw three voter information events, recruited volunteers, providing the campus community with over 400 volunteer hours, knocked on thousands of doors, and handed out hundreds of donuts. All the work of Alexia and her volunteers made for one of the biggest college student midterm turnouts in Hampton History.
Concurrently, Alexia traveled the nation to advocate on behalf of the country’s most inspiring youth, Boys & Girls Club kids. Alexia still finds time to connect with Clubs across the United States, and even began working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula.
Alexia is currently a junior and plans move to San Francisco, California to take on a higher position within the electoral politics, activism, and grassroots organizing realm. She looks forward to graduating in May of 2020 and can’t help but thank Clubs for the chance she has every day to chase her dreams. Alexia still hopes to be in the U.S Supreme Court one day. For now she aspires to maintain her role in activism, and to in the future elevate to being a socio- political global game changer to ultimately make a better, more inclusive, more equitable tomorrow. Alexia says, “In my Club I found myself. In Youth of the Year I found my best friends, my sisters. In my every day, I find my fight to revolutionize the future”.
Carlos P., 2017-2018 Northeast Youth of the Year
Carlos Polanco is a Dominican-American activist and servant-leader from Clifton, New Jersey. He is currently an undergraduate student at Dartmouth College pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English and African African-American Studies. Currently he works with Dartmouth’s Office of Pluralism and Leadership as the Men’s Project Fellow. In this capacity, Carlos is researching the role Black men and masculine folks on Dartmouth’s campus have historically had and what their experience is today.
Carlos was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to Passaic, New Jersey in 2005 with his family in pursuit of the American Dream for a better life. He studied at Clifton High School where he graduated with a 99.769 GPA as a member of the National Honor Society. He led the Clifton Student Union, which is completely student-run, student-led and student-oriented, providing representation to Clifton’s Board of Education. In this capacity, he’s rewritten the school dress code, addressed the lack of Advanced Placement classes and led a peaceful march of more than 350 students advocating for fair funding. Carlos also went on to be named the American Legion Jersey Boys State Governor as a rising senior, the first Latino in program history. Carlos maintains strong ties with his hometown by regularly volunteering and being of service in the community.
At the end of his first year at Dartmouth College he was nominated and chosen as the recipient of the William S. Churchill Prize. The William S. Churchill Prize has been given since the early 20th century by the College to the one outstanding first-year man that best embodies academic achievement, loyalty to the college, involvement on campus, and overall achievement. Currently, he is on the Dartmouth Student Assembly Executive Council as the Ambassador of Student Life, working with the administration and students to improve the campus, finding ways to reduce sexual violence, and improving the student experience.
Carlos was recognized as the 2017-2018 Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year, a 2016 Bank of America Student Leader, recipient of El Diario’s “EL” Award, the Disney Hero for Change Award. After graduating from Dartmouth College, Carlos plans on entering the financial sector and later continuing his academic career by attending law school and obtaining a Ph.D.
Jeramiah L., 2018-2019 Northeast Youth of the Year
The Boys & Girls Club of Allentown has been a major influence on Jeramiah’s life, who began at the Club when he was 5. He still recalls how he didn’t make a single friend on his first day, but a Club volunteer took time to make him feel special. Now a Junior Staff member, Jeramiah brings happiness to kids in the Club.
Jeramiah works in the Club’s youth literacy program, helping younger members with reading and writing. The Club also fuels his passion for healthy living and physical activity. He is active in Triple Play, the Club health and wellness program, and also plays for his high school football team. Jeramiah’s vision for America’s youth is for young people to take a stand against drugs, poverty and violent circumstances they may face in their communities.
A high school junior, Jeramiah plans to attend Lehigh University to become a psychiatrist.
“Challenges make life interesting; overcoming them makes life meaningful. Better
an oops than a what-if.”