MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- The Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester honored its 2014 Youth of the Year Cristy Lopez-Duarte at the Crabtree’s Kittle House reception Tuesday, May 13.
The National Youth of the Year program, a Boys & Girls Clubs of America initiative, honors club members for developing superior leadership skills, overcoming personal challenges, achieving academic excellence, and performing outstanding service to the club and the community.
As a 10-year member of the club, Lopez-Duarte, now 17, has shown outstanding dedication to BGCNW, her high school and her community. She has volunteered more than 300 hours of services since 2011 and is president of Liberty Keystone, a teen group that provides opportunities to gain valuable leadership and service experience.
“As a young member of the club, I was a follower, but I have learned to be a leader in the programs and activities I’ve participated in,” Lopez-Duarte said. “I could not imagine the kind of person I would be without this club.”
Originally from Guatemala, Lopez-Duarte spoke of disappointments and tragic moments in her life, living as an undocumented citizen and her eventual discovery of the Immigration Reform Act, which now allows her to work, drive and apply for college scholarships in the U.S.
“Being in the country undocumented guarantees obstacles,” Lopez-Duarte said. “I remember first coming to the club. I was 4 years old in a new place in a new country. I didn’t know the language, and I didn’t have any friends. The club made it easy to adapt.”
Lopez-Duarte will compete in the New York State Youth of the Year competition in Albany on Monday, May 19. Lopez-Duarte will also be honored as the BGCNW’s Youth of the Year at the 2014 Humanitarian Award Dinner Saturday, June 7 at Lexus of Mount Kisco.