Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County is thrilled to announce the Florida Youth of the Year title has been awarded to a local Boys & Girls Club member for the third-consecutive year. Marguerite Andrich, a 17-year-old senior at Pine View School, was named the 2020 Florida Youth of the Year on Friday, May 15, 2020, in a virtual competition with 20 other youth candidates from various Boys & Girls Club organizations across the state.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America Youth of the Year program has celebrated the inspirational journeys of outstanding teens across the nation since 1947. The program recognizes Boys & Girls Clubs members who demonstrate strong leadership and service skills, as well as, academic excellence and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle while fostering a new generation of leaders, fully prepared to live and lead in a diverse, global and integrated world. Eligible teens are encouraged to compete for the prestigious Boys & Girls Clubs of America Youth of the Year title through local, state, regional and national competitions.
Typically, the Florida Youth of the Year Celebration brings all of the candidates together to share their compelling stories with a panel of judges before culminating with a congratulatory dinner to present the title. Due to the current pandemic, the event was transitioned into a virtual competition. Each candidate was interviewed by a panel of esteemed judges from businesses across the state through Zoom. After two rounds of interviews, the panel selected Marguerite to represent the state as the 2020 Florida Youth of the Year. The title and $2,500 was presented to Marguerite by Randy Wilkens, Southeast Regional Director, Leadership, Character & Impact at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
“My Boys & Girls Club is my home. It has kept me safe, it has shown me unconditional love, and it will always be one of the most significant aspects of my life,” said Marguerite. “My Boys & Girls Club means everything to me. This award means everything to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Marguerite has been an active participant of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County’s programs since 2015, including SRQVolunteen where she found her passion for volunteering and organized service projects for various nonprofit agencies across Sarasota. She also graduated from the organization’s STAR (Students Taking Active Roles) Leadership Training program, which led to serving as a full-voting board member for the Van Wezel Foundation for three terms and interning for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County’s Teen Programs office. While Marguerite gained exceptional leadership skills as a Club member, she also acquired a network of caring mentors and a support system of peers who she says has greatly inspired and empowered her to achieve her goals such as starting her own business, advocating for mental health awareness and earning a perfect ACT score.
Marguerite will advance to the Southeast Youth of the Year Celebration in Atlanta, GA, in September. If she wins the 2020 Southeast Youth of the Year title, Marguerite will go on to the National Youth of the Year Celebration. The national winner will become a role model, ambassador and spokesperson for 4 million Boys & Girls Clubs members across the United States, receive academic scholarships and have opportunities for life-changing experiences such as networking with celebrity alumni, securing internships with national partners, speaking at national conferences and meeting the country’s top leaders and elected officials.
“We are extremely proud of this incredibly talented young leader,” said Bill Sadlo, President/CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County. “Marguerite has worked tirelessly and successfully navigated challenging circumstances in order to get to this moment in her life. She is going to be a wonderful representative of not only our local community, but also the entire state of Florida at the regional competition.”