ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Selected among several local outstanding youth, Anthony Laster, an Orton Keys Club member and a Jefferson High School senior, will compete against other Boys & Girls Club members for the Illinois Youth of the Year title and a full ride 4-year scholarship from SIU. As the new Youth of the Year for Boys & Girls Club of Rockford, 18 year-old Anthony is a true example of an extraordinary young man recognized by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) for his sound character, leadership skills and willingness to give back to the community.
Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. As BGCA’s premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles. Youth of the Year encourages Club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles and contributing to their communities. Youth of the Year honorees are shining examples and living proof that great futures start at Boys & Girls Clubs.
“We are honored and proud to have Anthony represent the Rockford Club’s at the state level” said Chip Stoner, President /CEO of the Rockford B&G Club. “Anthony has overcome many obstacles in his 18 years and has made remarkable choices that have helped him become the young man he is today.”
“One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced during my school years has been homework,” says Laster. “I used to have trouble concentrating with all the distractions I had at school and at home but after I started coming to the Club, I was able to take advantage of Power Hour and Project Learn and be in a calm and quiet environment and concentrate on what I needed to do. My teachers have seen a big jump in my grades and my attitude.”
“The Club has taught me not just to help myself but others as well. By the Club adding me to Junior Staff, I have had the chance to show the younger children between right and wrong and getting them involved in extracurricular activities after school to keep them off the streets.”
Laster has been accepted to Western Illinois University and will study Criminal Justice in the fall. In addition, the Kiwanis Club of Rockford has awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Anthony for his college education.
If Laster wins at the state competition, he will compete for the title of Midwest Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 scholarship from Tupperware Brands, the recognition program’s national sponsor. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C., in September 2013, to compete for the title of BGCA’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of up to $50,000 from The Rick and Susan Goings Foundation and will have the opportunity to meet with the President of the United States in the White House.
Additional information is available by calling the Administration Office at