For 75 years, the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year program has honored and celebrated the nation’s most inspiring teens and their incredible journeys. Stories of outstanding leadership, service, academic excellence, and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle have made Youth of the Year America’s premier leadership and recognition program for teens. The amazing young people selected represent the voice and spirit of hope for America. Inspiring all kids to lead. To succeed. To inspire.

Each year, every Club has the distinct honor of selecting and recognizing a Youth of the Year from Clubs around the nation. Picking one outstanding teen is always a very difficult decision, but it’s also really rewarding to hear about their goals for the future and see all that our teens have accomplished thus far in their young lives.

Please join us in congratulating the 2023 Youth of the Year for our Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast, Orange County, and State Finalist Brandy Selina Mendez!

A senior at NOVA Academy High School, Selina earned a 4.5+ GPA through her excellence in academics, including advanced placement (AP) courses, and will be the Class of 2023’s valedictorian. She will even be graduating with over 30 units of college credits thanks to the dual enrollment program her school offers.

Her academic advisors describe her as a talented, passionate leader who deeply cares about community development and cultural relevancy. As ASB President, Selina has planned successful events that have made school history; like the first community event celebrating Dia de los Muertos and a successful sold-out, profitable homecoming dance.

A third year Club member, Selina first joined our Boys & Girls Club when teens needed us most. Since 2020, Selina benefitted from the mentorship and resources the Club offered her, allowing her to self-discover her passions and strengthen her communication skills. Through our College Bound and Workforce Development initiatives, Selina has learned about different career fields, participated in college readiness workshops, and was introduced to opportunities she otherwise did not know existed.

A constant volunteer in the Club’s teen community service events, Selina has always had the passion to give back to and represent her community, specifically in the form of art. This passion stemmed from her advocacy for the representation of culture and identity in the Latino community. As such, Selina’s intended post-education goal is to attend UCLA to combine her passions of advocacy, business, and music to create opportunities for young artists who wish to pursue their musical talents.

As Youth of the Year, Selina’s goal is to serve as a community leader and inspire her generation to overcome adversities and search for opportunities that benefit them in the future. Being the Youth of the Year for Orange County, Selina went to Sacramento with 8 other Youth of the Year from different counties to compete to be Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s California State Youth of the Year. As a state finalist, Selina received an additional $3,000 scholarship – totaling her YOY scholarship (between our Club, OC Area Council, and CA State Alliance) earnings to $13,000! We are beyond proud of everything Selina and can’t wait to see what GREAT FUTURE she holds.

Our College Bound program provides additional scholarships to help deserving kids pay for college. Want to be a part of it? Please consider making a gift. Thank you for helping us fulfill our mission to ensure every child has mentors and champions in life and for giving high school students a better opportunity to reach their GREATEST POTENTIAL!