Day of the Girl

Day of the Girl Honors Club Alumni

From Questioning Her Worth to Finding Her Confidence: Lizzy’s Story

When I was 14, I spent a lot of time with some girls who I thought were my best friends. They were smart and got straight As — I was in awe of them and how effortless they made it all seem. For me, school was an uphill battle. I have attention deficit disorder (ADD), so staying focused in the classroom and retaining information was a constant struggle. I had to work twice as hard to succeed half as much as these girls. I wanted to be just like them. 

You can imagine my devastation when I realized they didn’t care as much about me as I did about them. Those girls made me feel like I wasn’t good enough, like I had to prove myself over and over again to be included. I was already painfully shy and unsure of myself; how they treated me took a toll on my self-esteem. 

A Critical Turning Point

Around this time, I was an active participant in the Young Achievers program at the San Antonio Boys & Girls Club. The program is primarily for eighth graders to help develop new skills, prepare for high school, learn more about college and explore pathways for the future. When I first became involved, I thought this would just be another youth motivational program — something I could check off the list and move on. But Young Achievers was special. It changed me. The community I became a part of, the mentors who entered my life, and the love and support I received through this Boys & Girls Club program awakened confidence in me that hadn’t existed before.

Through Young Achievers, I met people like Mr. Rockett, the director of the Young Achievers program. He took the time to work with me one-on-one to improve my communication skills, prepare for college interviews and write application essays. His constructive criticism and insistence that I never give up on myself helped me realize that having to work harder to succeed is valuable and something to feel proud of, not ashamed of and daunted by. 

I also met other Boys & Girls Club members facing personal challenges and providing support and encouragement to each other. I’m still connected with some of them today, more than four years later.

A Life-Changing Realization

My experiences in the Young Achievers program helped me recognize my strengths and not give up on something or assume I can’t achieve it just because it is more challenging for me. I found opportunities to truly shine — I realized I don’t need to be flawless; I just need to be me. I also learned that true friends wouldn’t make me feel like I need to change who I am to be valued.

My mom is a high school nurse. I admire how hard she works and how dedicated she has been to me and my twin sisters’ futures our whole lives. In discovering my strengths, I also realized that what I admire about my mother is ingrained in me. She has always been this constant driving force nudging me to get out there and explore different interests and give my best effort, even when something seems impossible. If it weren’t for her, I might never have had the courage to get involved in robotics and engineering (my passions and my planned career path), and I certainly would never have seen myself as part of the Young Achievers program.

As I start college at Texas A&M University, I know there are still challenges to face and hurdles to clear to find my great future. But thanks to the Young Achievers program, the Boys & Girls Club and my amazing mom, I now have the self-confidence to meet those challenges head-on. I’m excited for what my future holds and so grateful for the people in my life who keep urging me forward.

Youth of the Year Finalist: Armando Lopez

Armando Lopez was a 2019 Youth of the Year finalist and was an active member of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio for six years attending both the Eastside and Mays Family Clubhouses. While a Club member, he participated in Keystone, robotics, Link and Jr. Staff.  However, his favorite Club activity by far was his experience as a member of the Eastside polo team. During his two years on the polo team, Armando learned to exercise compassion, he gained valuable leadership skills, and he learned how to work as part of a team.

 

Transitioning from Mexico to the US at a young age, Armando endured many struggles over the years but that never stopped his drive to succeed. Armando plans to use what he has learned from his travels, hardships, and experiences from the Club to make the world a better place.

 

Armando is currently serving in the US Navy where he is pursuing a career in the medical or dental services field.

Youth of the Year Armando Lopez

Youth of the Year: Aaliyah Glover

Aaliyah Glover was named the 2019 Youth of the Year during the 2nd Annual Youth of the Year Gala at the Mays Family Clubhouse. Aaliyah was a member of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio for 11 years, a medaled swimmer, and team captain of her school’s varsity swim team. She first discovered her passion for swimming at the age of seven during swim lessons at the Calderon Clubhouse on San Antonio’s Westside. Aaliyah is now a freshman at Texas A&M University where she is studying to become either a neuroscientist or a cardiologist.

 

During her speech at the Youth of the Year Gala, Aaliyah took a moment to thank everyone for her Club experience.

 

“I want to say thank the Boys & Girls Club for giving me opportunities of a lifetime. Things that I will take with me to college and in my future. You gave me the chance to really find myself.”

Youth of the Year Aaliyah Glover

Youth of the Year Finalist: Madison Castillo

Madison Castillo was a 2019 Youth of the Year finalist and attended the Club for eight years. As an active member of Teen Center, Madison proved to be a leader in her community volunteering with Good Samaritan, The Strong Foundation and St. Timothy’s completing over 100 hours of community service.  Self-driven and motivated, she participated in multiple leadership and character building programs at the Club while also playing volleyball, running track and maintaining a 3.7 GPA in honors and dual credit classes.

 

In addition to receiving her high school diploma, Madison graduated with an Associate Degree from San Antonio College. She is currently attending St. Mary’s University where she plans to pursue a degree in Law.