Azana Q. of the Fort Shafter Youth Center is named the Pacific Military Youth of the Year. (Courtesy photo)
Boys & Girls Club of America
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii – Selected from among eight outstanding finalists from Boys & Girls Club-affiliated Youth Centers across the region, Azana Q. from the Fort Shafter U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii Youth Center has been named the Pacific Military Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of America. At the virtual Pacific Youth of the Year Celebration event, supported by Toyota, Azana was presented with a $20,000 college scholarship.
“When I first started attending my Youth Center, I was extremely reluctant to go because I did not know anyone and was very shy,” Azana said. “The Youth Center became a safe space for me and allowed me to feel comfortable and confident, which was not something that I had experienced anywhere before.”
Shortly after she began participating in the Fort Shafter Youth Center, Azana got involved with various leadership opportunities. She served as a member of the Pacific Teen Panel, president of the community service Keystone Club, and organizer of the yearly Youth Leadership Forum.
“Growing up, I was always very shy and rarely stood up for myself,” she said. “The Pacific Teen Panel and the Youth Center have taught me how to communicate clearly and allowed me to get past my fears and advocate not only for myself, but others as well. It has also taught me how to be approachable and listen to other’s needs so that I am able to represent my community’s needs well.”
In addition to her involvement at the Youth Center, Azana regularly seeks out opportunities to grow and learn in her field of interest – science. She has participated in the Hawaii State Science Olympiad since 2014, and most recently she has worked on a science fair project in the topic of dark matter detection. She is passionate about the lack of diversity in STEM fields and hopes to become a role model for other minorities and women interested in STEM subjects.
“In the future, I hope to have a career in astrophysics, despite the lack of representation, and be a role model to youth to encourage diversity in the field.”
Azana will continue on to contend for the National Military Youth of the Year title on September 29, which comes with an additional $20,000 scholarship and the opportunity to serve as a spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of America representing thousands of military-connected youth.
Founded more than seventy years ago in 1947 as Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club. The Youth of the Year recognition program is presented by Toyota.
For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit www.youthoftheyear.org.
About the Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For 160 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,700 Clubs serve over 4.6 million young people through Club membership and community outreach.
Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours.
Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of America on Facebook and Twitter.