Boys & Girls Club of Collier County named Lawence Joseph, a 17-year-old senior at Immokalee High School, as its 2023 Youth of the Year.
Youth of the Year is a premier recognition program that honors student members who exemplify the virtues of good character, academic excellence, community service and strong leadership.
Joseph first joined Boys & Girls Club as a shy 11-year-old, but took full advantage of the programs offered to all members. He is a junior club assistant who helps younger children with homework and speaks at club events. Joseph participated in the Mr. And Mrs. Manners Program and serves as an ambassador for UPS Road Code, a safe driving program geared toward teens. He is president of the Keystone Club at the Bolch Campus in Immokalee, where he leads activities that focus on academic success, career preparation and community service.
“Lawence is a perfect example of how students can thrive if they take full advantage of the programs we offer,” said Boys & Girls Club President and CEO Megan McCarthy Beauvais. “It’s not easy for shy children and teens to come out of their comfort zones, but Lawence has become a great communicator and student leader who already is making a positive impact on this world.”
Joseph, who plans to pursue a degree in business administration and culinary science, accumulated more than 400 volunteer hours at Boys & Girls Club, a number that surprised Joseph himself.
“Through the club’s events, activities and staff, I have been able to experience something that should be shared with all youth – a haven for creativity and a nurturing environment for all to learn and grow together,” Joseph wrote in his Youth of the Year essay. “Whether you’re interested in music, art or dance, there is always a place for you at my Boys & Girls Club.”
The Youth of the Year event, which was held Feb. 15 at Club Pelican Bay in Naples, raised more than $425,000 to support six core program areas at Boys & Girls Club: education, career development, character and leadership, health and wellness, sports and education, and the arts. Also at the event, longtime supporter Karen Pulte was honored with the Giving is Living Award, an honor that recognizes individuals who selflessly support local organizations so the community can continue to thrive.
Sponsors for Youth of the Year included:
- Presenting: Domenic & Molly Ferrante, Mary Pat Hussey, RaceTrac and The Schoen Foundation
- Platinum: The Wellington Group – Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
- Diamond: LocaliQ/Naples Daily News, Naples Illustrated and George & Juliana Phillips
- Gold: Florida Power & Light, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Jim & Ellen O’Brien, PNC Financial Services Group, Publix Supermarket Charities, Dianne & Jim Safley, Stock Development and George & Joan Thomas
- Silver: Mary Barrett, Gillian Campbell, Elizabeth LeStrange, Kay & Sam McCullough, Janet Sartori, Dianne Thornton, UBS Private Wealth Management – The Matina Group, US Bank Private Wealth Management
- Bronze: Ed & Jane Kerr
About Boys & Girls Club of Collier County
Founded in 1997, Boys & Girls Club of Collier County mobilizes donors, staff and volunteers toward the achievement of a single mission: To empower all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. The nonprofit’s six core program areas include education, career development, character and leadership, health and wellness, the arts, and sports and recreation. Boys & Girls Club of Collier County annually serves more than 4,000 children and teens, ages 6 to 18, through clubs and after-school programs. Through the generosity of sponsors, donors and friends, Boys & Girls Club of Collier County provides a safe place for young people to learn, grow and develop ongoing relationships with adult mentors who support the education, emotional, physical and social development they need to become successful adults. For more information, please visit BGCCC.com or call 239-325-1700.