2023 Youth of the Year: Cha’Ya Grant
Cha’Ya Grant credits West End House with helping her to develop confidence, self-awareness and leadership- all qualities that she will need as she pursues a career as a Black female trombone player in a white, male-dominated field. Cha’Ya graduated from Boston Arts Academy in June and will be starting at Berklee School of Music this fall.
This past spring, Cha’Ya was selected as West End House’s Youth of the Year (YOY) winner and went on to compete to become the Massachusetts Youth of the Year, a Boys & Girls Club of America annual competition that recognizes outstanding leadership, service and academic excellence among club members. Selected from 5-7 other club members who submitted essays to be nominated, Cha’Ya’s essay talked about her involvement with the Making Change Crew. “ It gave me the voice to do something useful and speak out to our community about the problems we are facing and what we can do to fix it.,” she said.
At the statewide competition, each YOY nominee had to make a 3-minute speech and complete an interview with a panel of judges. Though Cha’Ya did not advance to the national competition, she gained more confidence through the experience and enjoyed meeting other youth from across the state.
“Cha’Ya is someone who I can always depend on. She embodies the values of Youth of the Year – leadership and empathy and I have watched her grow into a confident young woman”, says Carleen Colin, WEH Leadership and Career Development Manager.