Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s Jamie Cruz was named Indiana’s State Youth of the Year on Friday during an annual ceremony with participants from Clubs across the state. Cruz, who’s attended Lake Station Boys & Girls Club since she was six, accepted the award during an in-person event in Indianapolis.
As staff congratulated Cruz after the ceremony, Boys & Girls Clubs president and CEO Ryan Smiley applauded her for her dedication to serving as a role model to younger Club members. Smiley noted that Cruz, 17, participated in the Junior Staff workplace learning program and created the Code Blue Dance Team for girls at the Lake Station Club.
“Jamie’s positive attitude and ability to lead others is admirable,” said Smiley. “She really does embody the characteristics we hope to inspire in our youth.”
Cruz, a junior at River Forest High School, was selected from six candidates from Indiana as part of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Youth of the Year program. To get to State, Cruz first had to be chosen as Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s organizational Youth of the Year, a feat she accomplished in March. In total, Cruz competed against teens from 146 Clubs across 31 organizations in 56 counties.
Cruz is Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s fourth straight State Youth of the Year winner, following Gary’s Marcus Steele Jr., Merrillville’s Azariah Avery, and Portage’s Sanja Kirova.
Cruz’s journey continues to the regional contest, which will take place in early summer and consist of Club members from around the Midwest. For being named the State Youth of the Year, Cruz will receive a $2,500 scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America, as well as a $5,000 scholarship for being named Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s Youth of the Year.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana:
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana has been opening doors to GREAT FUTURES for Porter and Lake County youth for over 60 years. Clubs are open after school and provide great places for youth in grades K-12 to meet friends and have fun while in a safe, supervised environment. Clubs are open during holidays and in the summer. Annual membership is only $40.00. For information on membership, volunteer opportunities, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please contact your local Club by calling (219) 764-2582 or visiting bgcgreaternwi.org. Great Futures Start HERE.