West End House is proud to announce our 2021 Youth of the Year winner, Cristian Martinez.
A Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s program, Youth of the Year (YOY) was established in 1947 to honor and celebrate inspiring teens, ages 14 to 18, and their commitment to community service, academic success, good character and citizenship. YOY helps to foster a new generation of leaders, fully prepared to live and lead.
Cristian has been a member of West End House since he was 7 years old. From a young age Cristian loved getting involved in all West End House programs and clubs. He especially enjoyed spending time in the Education Center and Visual Arts Room building and creating.
As Cristian got older his interests shifted to sports and fitness, specifically basketball. Cristian enjoys connecting with other teens and youth through the sport. The summer going into his junior year Cristian had the opportunity, through a scholarship offered by West End House alumnus and Board of Advisor Steve Curley, to hone his basketball skills while attending the Red Auerbach Basketball School, a week-long session for young men ages 12 to 18.
Cristian has also been committed to leadership and professional development opportunities throughout his time at the Club. He has been involved with leadership programs including Keystone, Youth Work Force and our Peer Leader program, where he has developed initiative and problem solving skills while participating in a professional real world work setting.
Cristian is now 18, a senior at Another Course to College, and currently serves as a Peer Leader in our College and Career Room Learning Hub. This past year being a Peer Leader looks a little different. Peer Leaders currently support West End House Learning Hub staff members to ensure a safe and structured environment for Club members during their remote learning day. Peer Leaders also serve as a role model for our younger members, upholding and reinforcing all WEH rules and safety protocols to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment with a focus on academic success and emotional wellness. Peer Leaders also attend monthly professional development workshops.
Most recently Cristian demonstrated his leadership and initiative by becoming involved in our West End House Votes Campaign. He was featured in a video where he spoke about the importance and power of voting. He shared his perspective on why he feels it is important for everyone to take action and vote.
Congrats to Cristian and our amazing YOY finalists: Cha’Ya, Lucas, Mabel, Mathew, ReignYah and Thao. Many thanks to our YOY judges, Cusaj Thomas, Rey Sylla, Jenn Wong and Yelithza Galvez for participating in the virtual interview process!