2019-20 Southwest Youth of the Year
Club/Organization: Boys & Girls Clubs of Chaffee County
College/University: University of Colorado
Career Goal: Social Worker
“I hold the belief that each person is eccentric and should never strive to be a copy-and-paste version of someone else. The ideals and characteristics that make them different should always be respected.”
Afterschool and summer learning programs provide a safe space for kids, encourage and enrich learning opportunities and are a lifeline for working families. Help kids like Athena by encouraging Congress to invest in afterschool programs.
Growing up, Athena had difficulty hearing and, as a result, struggled in school and making friends. After she moved to Colorado in the eighth grade, she was diagnosed with hearing loss and began to wear hearing aids. It was at this time that she started going to the Boys & Girls Club.
Athena first became involved with her Club through the Extraordinary Teen Council, where she found her passion for volunteer work. She worked on several volunteer projects to bring awareness to the LGBTQ community and prevent drug and alcohol use among children and teens. She also worked with disability centers and created a mental health voucher that is used throughout Colorado.
Athena is dedicated to inclusivity and wants young people to step away from technology to focus on connecting with others face to face. She teaches a sign-language class at her Club and community sign-language classes to adults on weekends. Athena is a freshman at the University of Colorado and plans to pursue a career in social work.