2021-22 National Military Youth of the Year
2021-22 Northeast Military Youth of the Year
“I came to the Youth Center because I needed an outlet, somewhere to convert my energy to be productive,” says Victor, who entered the doors of the JB MDL- Ft Dix Youth Program at the age of nine and found a community for life.
Victor struggled with controlling his emotions and relieving stress after his parents’ divorce. Plus, with his mom working as a veteran civilian on the military installation, he was learning the transient nature of friendships in the military, with best friend after best friend moving away when their families were stationed elsewhere.
But at the Youth Center, Victor found adult role models, an enormous gym to shoot hoops, and programs that channeled his energy into volunteering, leadership and fellowship. He discovered a passion for volunteering, helping to lead his Torch and Keystone Clubs through community projects.
Victor is also an advocate of youth mental health, and especially addressing the needs created by the pandemic as youth struggled with online learning and lack of social connection. He is committed to supporting youth in prioritizing their mental well-being, saying, “I know how impactful it is to have a role model, a staff, a group of people who care about you in your corner.”
For 30 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has partnered with the U.S. Armed Services to do whatever it takes to serve the unique needs of military-connected youth, impacting youth like Victor and millions others.