2014 CAS Youth of the Year

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Earlier this week, The Children's Aid Society's Adolescence Division coordinated an internal competition to select the young person who would represent Children's Aid at the upcoming Boys & Girls Club of America’s Youth of the Year State Competition.

Six young people representing Children's Aid sites, Fannie Lou Hamer High School in the Bronx and Hope Leadership Academy in Harlem, were nominated for Youth of the Year honors. Selection was based on leadership within the “club,” their commitment to the community and their academic achievements. The candidates underwent an intense process that included writing essays and securing letters of recommendation and/or supporting documentation from their site coordinators. The youth also gave a speech in to a panel of Children's Aid representatives who also evaluated the written applications and formally interviewed each candidate.

Ciarra Leocadio was selected as the Children's Aid Society's 2014 Youth of the Year. Saul Soto and Nyuma Gumaneh, both from the Hope Leadership Academy, were awarded first and second runner-up honors, respectively.

Up next for Ciarra will be to travel to Albany for the Youth of the Year State Competition on May 18-20 where she will compete against other Youth of the Year candidates from across the state of New York. The winner of the state competition will go on to compete in a regional competition. A national Youth of the Year will ultimately be named based on the regional competition.

Ciarra is an Advanced Peer Trainer at the Hope Leadership Academy and has participated in a number of programs, including JPMorgan Project LIVE, MSG Classroom, and the Germany Exchange Program. She will attend Vanderbilt University in the fall on a full Posse Foundation scholarship and plans to become an OB-GYN. The Children's Aid Society is proud to have Ciarra as our 2014 Youth of the Year and we wish her best of luck in Albany!