On February 3, Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties presented its prestigious 2023 Youth of the Year title to local high school student, Nathan W. during its Steak & Burger, Youth of the Year Celebration.
Five other outstanding teens were in the running for Youth of the Year. Each exemplified the Boys & Girls Clubs’ mission and are proof of the impact the Clubs make in transforming lives:
- Madisyn C. is a senior at Venice High School and attends the Gene Matthews Club in North Port;
- Rah’Nia H. is a senior at Booker High School and attends the Newtown Estates Club in Newtown;
- Stephanie B. is a senior at Venice High School and attends the Robert and Joan Lee Club in Venice;
- Mykayla G. is a senior at Booker High School and attends the Roy McBean Club in Newtown;
- Nazariah S. is an eighth-grader at DeSoto Middle School and attends the Louis and Gloria Flanzer Club in Arcadia.
Youth of the Year: A Brief History
Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been the premier recognition program of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America that fosters a new generation of leaders, fully prepared to live and lead in a diverse, global, and integrated world economy. The program celebrates the extraordinary achievements of Club members across the nation. Candidates who embody the values of leadership, service, academic excellence, and healthy lifestyles.
"Nathan is an exceptional Club member who will be an excellent representative for our organization as he embodies our mission and works diligently to inspire meaningful change in our community," said Bill Sadlo, President/CEO. "We are so proud of his unwavering passion to empower others and make the world a better place.”
Since 2012, the organization has had five State of Florida Youth of the Years, two Southeast Region Youth of the Years, and one National Youth of the Year.
Nathan is a senior at Pine View School and a member of the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club. He joined the Boys & Girls Clubs in 2019 through the Perlman Young Entrepreneurs Program (or PYE).
According to Nathan, "The Club makes leaders out of all who walk through its doors. As we are the generation poised to experience the implications of many decisions being made today, the importance of community organizations like The Club cannot be overstated. Youth leadership and its inherent capability to highlight underrepresented voices compels me to act as a leader and empower others.”
Other highlights of Nathan’s experience with the Boys & Girls Clubs include Youth Council Board Member and Secretary, STAR Leadership graduate, PYE Program graduate and student trainer, PYE2 participant, Advocacy 101 member, SRQVolunteen volunteer, Club Ambassador, and Culinary Arts student.
“Being named Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties’ 2023 Youth of the Year has filled me immense gratitude: for my Club and its mentors, my parents, and my community” said Nathan. “My time at The Club has redefined who I am and who I seek to become; it has altered my perspectives of the world around me. It is an honor to have an opportunity to represent myself in this competition, but an even greater privilege to represent my community.”
Outside of the Boys & Girls Clubs, Nathan is an accomplished violinist and piano player. He is also proficient in several languages and is a member of MENSA, National Honors Society, and the Debate Association.
Nathan’s dedication has earned him numerous awards and accolades including, but not limited to, the Anne Frank Humanitarian Award issued by The Florida Holocaust Museum, National Merit Scholarship Corporation Semi-finalist, and the Perlman Price Young Entrepreneurs Competition (2nd place).
After high school graduation, Nathan hopes to pursue a career in Environmental Biology/Food Science.
The Clubs’ Steak & Burger, Youth of the Year Celebration was presented by the Louis and Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust.
Additional sponsors include Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Intertape Polymer Group, Caldwell Trust Company, Shumaker, Drs. Robert and Patricia Gussin, Armstrong Fleming & Moore, Inc., Mark & Kathy Morrison, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Blistex, Ken and Patricia Freeman, Synovus, Jeff Roberti, CoolToday, Bowman, George, Scheb, Kimbrough, Koach & Chapman, P.A. Attorneys at Law, The DeLieto Team at MS&C Commercial, Sabal Trust, Lee Wetherington Homes, and Marilyn Naiditch.
Proceeds from the event support the organization's award-winning slate of programs designed to empower youth to achieve their full potential.
For more information, visit bgcsdc.org or call 941-366-3911.
Click here to see photos of the event by Cliff Roles Photography