Boys & Girls Club of presents 2015 Youth of the Year Award

NEWBURGH, NY – The Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh presented Kaila Helm, a sixteen year-old junior at Newburgh Free Academy, with its  2015 Youth of the Year Award on Wednesday evening, June 3, 2015. Ms. Helm was selected from a field of five very strong candidates, all of whom participate in programs at the Boys & Girls Club. In addition to the award, Ms. Helm received a $500 scholarship check from the Boys & Girls Club.
The event, held at Safe Harbors on the Hudson on Broadway in Newburgh, was attended by several regional nonprofit and corporate leaders, including Newburgh Enlarged City School District Superintendent Roberto Padilla, Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy and several city council members, as well as Boys & Girls Club board members, advocates, staff and parents.
“This is our first time presenting the Youth of the Year award since 2008, and there has been so much excitement around it, from our students and their families, and our board and staff,” said Kevin White, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh. “With this award, we are recognizing students who have overcome great adversity to excel both in academics and extracurricular activities. Mr. White added that next year student applicants may be able to compete at the regional, state and even national level.
A Youth of the Year Award committee that included Boys & Girls Club board members, staff and faculty selected the following five students as semi-finalists for the award:
1.     2015 Youth of the Year: Kaila Helm - Grade: 11 (NFA) Hometown: Newburgh, NY, age: 16
2.     Destiny Erazo - Grade: 6 (Temple Hill Academy), Hometown: Newburgh, NY Age: 12
3.     Giselle Martinez - Grade: 11 (NFA) Hometown: Newburgh, NY age: 17
4.     Jaslyn Martinez - Grade: 7 (Meadow Hill) Hometown: Newburgh, NY, age: 13
5.     Ayajha McKeller - Grade: 8 (South Middle School) Hometown: Newburgh, NY, age: 13
In an inspiring keynote address, Dr. Roberto Padilla said, “With so much negative news these days, this award celebrates all the good things happening in our city and all those students who are avoiding poor choices and choosing instead to achieve and succeed. We must continue to support them to achieve their full potential.”
Ms. Helm, who studies ballet, pointe and violin, and maintains excellent grades at Newburgh Free Academy, said with emotion while accepting her award, “I wouldn’t be who I am today without the Boys & Girls Club and the Newburgh Performing Arts Academy. I feel so honored to be included in this excellent group of students. Each one standing here is worthy of this award.”


Kaila Helm, 2015 Youth of the Year awardee

About The Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh. 

Findings from a national survey revealed:

  • 45% of alumni believed the Club helped them graduate from high school, and 28% would have dropped out of school without it.
  • 61% said the Club helped them become more committed to their education, and 70% credited their time at the Club for helping them discover subject areas they enjoyed.
  • 63% reported that Club staff contributed to their success in high school.

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Photo credit: Khalidah Carrington. From left to right: Kevin White, Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh; Destiny Erazo; Jaslyn Martinez; Giselle Martinez; Ayajha McKeller; Kaila Helm, 2015 Youth of the Year awardee.