Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme

Meet our 2015 Youth of the Year candidates

Posted in Uncategorized by BGCOP Staff on March 20, 2015

BGCOP YOY 2015 Group Candidates Pic 2Joanna Garcia, (left to right) Amber Holmes, Glenda Guzman, Claire Benson and Claritza Juarez

This year, the Club was honored to have five candidates for Youth of the Year, all outstanding examples of the youth we have at our Club.


Claritza Juarez

18-year-old Claritza Juarez says the Club transformed her world. At age 15, she was mandated by the court to complete community service hours at the Boys & Girls Club after being caught shoplifting at the Naval Base. Once at the Club, she joined the College Bound program. This was a huge step forward for her because says she previously didn’t know that education went past high school. College Bound opened her eyes to careers, colleges, universities and why grades matter. She is now a freshman at Oxnard College and wants to be an English teacher. Claritza was also involved with the Club’s Keystone program for the three years she was a member, which says taught her that life is about giving and making the world a better place not just for herself, but for everyone, she says. As someone who struggled with depression since age 6, Claritza credits the staff for their support and encouragement in helping her see what she has to offer.


Glenda Guzman

A junior at Oxnard High School, 17-year-old Glenda Guzman joined the Club at age 11. She says being an undocumented citizen and coming from a single-parent household created many obstacles. Being involved in the Club’s Keystone and Counselor in Training programs helped her overcome these barriers, she says, and have given her the opportunity to learn leadership and mentoring skills. Glenda has been vice president of the Keystone program for four and a half years. Her goal is to graduate from a four-year university with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with an emphasis in sociology, she says, so that she can go into the criminal justice field.


Claire Benson

Claire Benson has been a Club member since she was 15. Now 18, she’s studying to become a journalist at Oxnard College, something she says wouldn’t have been possible without the help she received at the Club. Through the Keystone program, Claire says she learned how to manage her priorities, by staying on track with her schoolwork and getting to volunteer in her community. She was given an opportunity to help others when she led a campaign for teen suicide prevention. She shared a rough time in her life that was difficult to talk about, but in doing so she realized how much the people at the Club supported and believed in her for who she was. But for Claire, one of the best opportunities she has been given at the Club was the chance to be a teen reporter for the Boys & Girls Club of America program. The experience helped her find the right path toward a career, she says.


Joanna Garcia

17-year-old Joanna Garcia first joined the Club when she was 8 years old. She says she was nervous the first day she walked into the Club, not sure if she would make friends. But the staff and other members made her feel so comfortable that she has considered the Club a second home almost from that first day. Joanna has been very involved with the Club’s Keystone program and has been a teen reporter for the BGCA program. In her nine years at the Club, she has participated in nearly all the sports programs offered and feels grateful for her experiences. She says she wants to become a doctor and study pre-med at John Hopkins University. She is currently a junior at Rio Mesa High School.



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