2016-17 National Youth of the Year
2016-17 Pacific Region Youth of the Year
Club/Organization: Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley
Length of Membership: 13 years
College/University: University of Southern California
Planned Major: Journalism
Career Aspiration: Journalist/Lawyer/Entrepreneur
“The Club has always been my home; a place that I could count on to feel safe and supported by people who love and care about me.”
When Jocelyn joined Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley at age 5, it gave her something priceless – a place to call home. Living in a community where drugs, crime and gangs were rampant, Jocelyn found stability behind her Club’s blue door. During times when her family struggled and even became homeless, each day after school, her Club provided her with positive, caring relationships with adults who showed her that her present did not have to dictate her future.
At first, because of her difficult home life, Jocelyn did not value education and struggled in school. She credits the mentors at her Club as being a positive force in her life – changing her perspective on her life and her capabilities. At her Boys & Girls Club, Jocelyn learned how to code and helped create photo sharing app technology that can be applied to a variety of apps. With encouragement from her Club mentors, when she no longer felt challenged in school, Jocelyn applied for and was awarded a scholarship to attend a private school that offered more advanced classes.
In high school, Jocelyn spent a week in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco to better understand homelessness and how it can impact kids and teens. She also founded the Under-represented Teen Advocacy Program (U.T.A.P.) at her school, a program that connects Bay-area teens in need with available services.
Today, Jocelyn remains dedicated to helping teens who are struggling with the same issues she faced growing up. She’s devoting her time as National Youth of the Year to advocate for education opportunities for all Club kids and teens, working with Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s education experts to build new platforms for teens to access college scholarships, internships and other forms of secondary education.
Jocelyn is studying journalism at University of Southern California and plans to become a journalist, lawyer and entrepreneur.