Selected among 10 outstanding youth, Mai Tong Yang, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities has been named the Minnesota Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) for her sound character, leadership skills, and willingness to give back to the community. As the new Minnesota Youth of the Year, she will receive a $1,000 college scholarship from Tupperware Brands Corporation. Mai Tong also was awarded a Home Team Scholarship presented by FOX Sports North in conjunction with the professional sports teams of the Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Minnesota Vikings organizations. A true example of an extraordinary young leader, eighteen year old Mai Tong will now vie for BGCA’s Midwest Region Youth of the Year title and an additional college scholarship.
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.
Mai Tong is one of nine children born to disabled parents. She moved to the United States from Thailand when she was two years old. Family is a high priority within the Hmong culture and Mai Tong knows that her family counts on her. At the age of fourteen she took her first job as a junior staff at the Mt. Airy Club so that she could help support her family financially. Mai Tong keeps a positive attitude with peers, Club staff, and her family.
For over eleven years, Mai Tong has been involved in programs at the Mt. Airy Boys & Girls Club. She has a natural leadership ability to command a room while making everyone feel comfortable and at ease. Her innate gift of knowing how to inspire a group has helped her develop into an innovative Club and community leader. Mai Tong is fearless in setting new goals. She recently returned from a trip to Korea with the National Security Language Initiative for Youth. Setting a goal and receiving this prestigious scholarship to study abroad is an example of Mai Tong’s maturity, enthusiasm, and commitment to furthering her educational opportunities.
Mai Tong graduates from Harding High School in June 2012. She plans to attend a four-year college and major in international relations. With the support of the Boys & Girls Club and her family she will soon embark on a new stage of her life. "I believe going to college will enhance my knowledge and understanding about the world and guide me closer to my dream of bridging various cultures together,” expressed Mai Tong Yang when asked why post-high school education is important to her.
This summer, Mai Tong will compete against other Boys & Girls Club members within the Midwest Region. If named regional winner, she will be awarded an additional $10,000 college scholarship from Tupperware Brands, the recognition program’s national sponsor. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C., in September 2012, 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.
"As a long time supporter of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, I am proud to announce Tupperware’s involvement in the Youth of the Year program,” said Rick Goings, Chairman and CEO of Tupperware Brands Corporation. "We strongly believe in these future leaders of tomorrow and are proud to support their continuing education.”
For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit www.bgca.org/yoy.
2011 Youth of the Year of Central Minnesota video testimonial