Exceptional Alamosa teen named ‘Youth of the Year’

Staff of San Luis Valley Health were on hand to support SLV Youth of the Year Kevin Gonzales at the annual breakfast Tuesday. He is the son of April George from the SLV Health pediatrics clinic. From left, Antonio Gurule, Noreen Chacon, Jho Cura, Angela Werner, Donna Wehe, Youth of the Year Kevin Gonzales, mother and SLVH pediatrics clinic employee April George, Kelly Gallegos, David Gallegos, Kelly Gurule, Shane Mortensen, Carmelo Hernandez and Angela Hernandez/Courtesy photo

Kevin Gonzales to now vie for state title and scholarship

ALAMOSA– Selected among many outstanding young people, Kevin Gonzales has been named the Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley at the annual recognition breakfast with over 125 community leaders in attendance Tuesday.

The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. Now in its 72nd year, the Youth of the Year program honors our nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed and inspire.

Kevin has been recognized by local partner, Adams State University with a full-ride scholarship to Adams. He will go on to contend for the Colorado Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

“On top of being involved with school, community events, and the Club, Kevin has an impassioned hope and motivation for the future,” said Maddy Ahlborn, Teen Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley. “A vision for his own success in the world of academia, and a vision of human kind, with no restriction to age.

“Kevin has a powerfully empathetic approach to communicating ideas. He is an active listener to his peers before he is a speaker. I believe this quality of listening is the key element to a great leader.”

Gonzales has been a member at the Boys & Girls Clubs for over a year, but during that time he has been a member of many uplifting activities. His community service has included cleaning up his community, volunteering at the local humane society and working with the City of Alamosa to proclaim the campus of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley a tobacco free zone so that younger members would not find cigarette butts on the ground.

He is a member of Adams State University’s Upward Bound program and has demonstrated academic excellence through his participation in Adams ‘dual enrollment program to get college credit while attending Centauri High School.

Gonzales hopes to continue to work to counteract the negative parts of social media and has started a movement to celebrate positive things in life. He invites social media users to post pictures using the hashtag #positiveplace.

This is in hopes of continuing to help young people navigate the challenges of growing up in an increasingly high-stakes world where depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are on the rise. He encourages us to “never judge people by their attitude for the day. The mud you see on their clothes could reflect the boulders and mountains on their shoulders.”

If Kevin wins at the state competition, he will compete for the title of Southwest Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000.

Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C. in September 2019, to compete for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable each year up to $100,000.

The Youth of the Year recognition program is presented by The Walt Disney Company, who has supported Boys & Girls Clubs of America for more than 50 years, empowering young people to reach their full potential and providing youth with access to the tools they need to build the great futures they imagine. Toyota is the Signature Sponsor of the national Youth of the Year program.

For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit www.youthoftheyear.org.

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