At the 13th Annual Youth Leadership Conference hosted by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant County in Arlington, Texas on Nov. 9 and 10, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area (BGCAA) Club member and middle schooler Marcelus M. competed in a regional competition to win the overall title of Junior Youth of the Year.

Previously named Junior Youth of the Year representative for Austin-Area clubs, Marcelus competed against thousands of middle school Club members across Texas to qualify for regionals and then became one of ten finalists to compete at this year’s leadership conference. During the competition, he won judges over with his compelling essay, authentic interview, and heart-warming speech to earn the “2019 Regional Youth of the Year” in Texas title.

“I want to be a positive influence in the world. Just because you are struggling in life doesn’t mean you can’t follow your dreams,” said Marcelus during a speech at the BGCAA annual “Great Futures Gala” on Nov. 1. “The Boys & Girls Clubs has changed my life by teaching me how to be a more honest and respectful person for society.”

Marcelus made his Home Club proud by consistently demonstrating noteworthy leadership efforts and academic excellence, ultimately winning him the overall regional title and a grand prize of $500 in gift cards and prizes. At the leadership conference, Marcelus also participated in educational sessions about leadership, character, and service. Afterward, he joined peers and other BGCAA Club members in participating in a community service project to support a local shelter for homeless families.

“Marcelus’ actions are virtuous and consistent with the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs, and he represented Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area in the best way possible,”said BGCAA CEO and President Misti Potter. “We are incredibly proud of him as he serves as both an exemplary ambassador for Boys & Girls Club youth and as an inspiring voice for our Austin community.”

In addition to recognizing the leadership achievements of Club youth, the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year program also cultivates leadership potential of students, providing the foundation they need for advanced leadership development, academic excellence, and postsecondary success. Through this program, middle school and high school Club youth become motivated to seek opportunities for leadership and to act as responsible citizens and change agents. Youth of the Year serve as an exemplary ambassador for Boys & Girls Club youth and a strong voice for all young people in their cities.

About the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area (BGCAA) is Austin’s leading out-of-school-time youth development agency, currently serving almost 10,000 registered members and engaging more than 12,000 children annually ages six to 18 at 33 locations in Travis and Bastrop counties, including the Home Club on the Sheth Family Campus. BGCAA’s formula for impact centers on quality programming and services in academic success, character, leadership, healthy living, and workforce development. Club youth participate in high-impact development programs that, when compared to non-Club youth, result in better school attendance, better grades, higher graduation rates, and a better likelihood of attending college. Through support from local individuals, businesses and BGCAA staff, Club youth are given the tools and opportunities to create great futures. More at

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