Exceptional Twin Cities Teen Named ‘Youth Of The Year’ By The Boys & Girls Clubs Of The Twin Cities

By Shannon Mattson


Selected among seven outstanding BGCTC youth, Kalvin Vang has been named Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities (BGCTC) Youth of the Year. Partners, supporters, alumni, board members, and staff gathered to celebrate and recognize Youth of the Year, a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of academic excellence, health & wellness, and service leadership.

Now in its 76th year, the Youth of the Year program honors our nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures. Vang will go on to vie for the Minnesota Youth of the Year title and a $20,000 college scholarship from the Minnesota Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs.

Watching Vang grow and become a “Youth of the Year” candidate has been a prideful experience for East Side Boys & Girls Club Branch Director, Koreena Moua, and a great reminder of why she does this work. “This young man has come very far. When he first joined the Club, he was very bashful and self-conscious. He stepped up and became part of our family.”

Vang, a senior at Hmong College Prep Academy High School, has been a member of the East Side Club for the past two years. When Vang first joined the Club, he was timid and unsure of his worth. The Club became a safe space for Vang to step out of his comfort zone and explore his own identity. By participating in the Career Launch curriculum, Vang has been able to develop his leadership skills and put them to use by leading his peers as Volleyball Captain and obtaining his first job at the East Side Boys & Girls Club.

“I’ve always been known as somebody’s son, brother, cousin, never myself – feeling like I was in the shadow of others my entire life… am I even good enough… I thought no one would notice me…” Vang shared with the crowd at last night’s ceremony. “Thanks to the guidance that I received at the East Side Boys & Girls Club, I understand myself better and I finally have a voice.”

East Side Boys & Girls Club Program Director, Max Thao shared that Vang calls him every Saturday at 6:00 a.m. asking, “Do you have any volunteer opportunities for me today?” Vang, along with a team of East Side Boys & Girls Club teens, are participating in this year’s “Changemaker Challenge,” a project designed to inspire and support those who aim to make a difference in their communities. Vang’s project is focused on bringing awareness to the importance of self-worth and mental well-being. He cares deeply for the mental well-being of others and is always willing to lend an ear to his peers.

If Vang is named the Minnesota Youth of the Year, he will vie for the title of Midwest Regional Youth of the Year who will receive an additional $20,000 college scholarship. Five regional finalists along with the National Military Youth of the Year will advance to the National Youth of the Year event in October 2024 to vie for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $50,000, a brand-new Toyota Corolla and a $5,000 Kohl’s gift card.

For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit www.boysandgirls.org/programs/youth-of-the-year/

About Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities: Through our long and rich history, experience, and expertise, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities is leading a transformative change in the opportunity equation for Twin Cities youth through our programs at 12 Club locations. We believe that every young person deserves the chance to realize their full potential and achieve a great future. Our K-12 youth development continuum is an inclusive model that helps prepare all young people to succeed in school, develop leadership skills, maintain healthy lifestyles, and build career aspirations. As Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities, we take a stand for the future of our youth against racism, discrimination, and prejudice in all its forms. We are committed to safety, health, dignity, and equitable opportunity for all youth. To learn more about Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities programming, visit www.boysandgirls.org.

Image Courtesy Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities.

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