BRIGHTON — Three area youths have been selected as Youth of the Year at the Shopneck Branch of the Boys and Girls Club.
John Landeros, 16, was named Senior Youth of the Year, Roman Ibarra, 14, was named Junior Youth of the Year and Rayane Risher, 12, was named Jr. Junior Youth of the Year.
Director Dan Ruybal said he’s very proud of this year’s recipients as they’ve worked hard for that honor.
“A lot of responsibility comes with that honor of being Shopneck Youth of the Year,” he said, adding that the winners have to be role models. “They have to set examples and do the right thing and lead our younger members.”
Landeros, who has been a member of the club for six years and has volunteered 100 hours in the past year, said he was surprised when he learned he was Senior Youth of the Year.
“I was surprised because it was my first year doing it and the person I was up against did it 4 years in a row,” he said.
According to him, the essays were the hardest part of the process for him because he had to write 8 of them and provide information about what his plans are after high school.
After he graduates next year, Landeros would like to join the National Guard and then attend Western State College in Gunnison for a degree in outdoor education and recreation. His dream is to open a camp for disabled kids.
Ibarra said he was “surprised and excited” to learn he was named Junior Youth of the Year because he wasn’t expecting to win.
“In order to be nominated, we had to participate and do good in the club — like not get in trouble, do what you’re supposed to, help out and be involved,” he said.
Ibarra has been a member of the club for the past six years and has 33 volunteer hours with the club. He is a member of the club’s Keystone club and has participated in other club programs such as basketball training camp, football, State Education Day, Career Launch and coaching the club’s 6- to 7-year-old basketball team. He would like to become an aerospace engineer or architect
Ibarra and Risher said the interview process was the hardest for them.
“It’s always so hard having three people who decide to volunteer and sit down and ask you questions. You want to answer them correctly,” Risher said of her experience with the judges.
Risher is a member of the club’s Torch club and participates in Kids Biz, where she has her own business selling wallets made out of duct tape She has been a member of the club for the last three years and has more than 80 volunteer hours with the club.
Education Director Shay Cardelas said Landeros and Ibarra will be representing the club and competing with other winners of the Metro Denver clubs on Feb. 10. She said they will be giving speeches on what the club means to them and interview again with a new set of judges.
All three of the winners will be honored during a special Youth of the Year dinner on March 19. The Shopneck branches Youth of the Month recipients and club volunteers will also be honored during the dinner.