WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield Area Y presented two Youth of the Year awards to local teens, Mikayla Mitchell and Bryanna Reinhardt, recently during its annual meeting,

Mitchell is a senior at Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains who plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania. She participated in the Y’s Counselor in Training (CIT) summer camp program during the summers of 2012 and 2013 and in the Y’s Leaders Club program during the school year. 

According to the Y, Mitchell has been a dedicated, reliable and active participant over the past three school years, willingly volunteering for various community service projects and showing initiative in developing and enhancing the Leaders Club overall. She has served as club Secretary and club president and volunteered with the Y’s Mens Christmas tree sale (which benefits various youth programs in the area), Lunch with Santa at the Y, Westfield Rotary Pancake breakfast, Rock-a-thon (raising money to provide scholarships to participants in Y programs), YMCA Healthy Kids Day and more.

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Her commitment to her academic studies, her selfless dedication to serving others and her warm and friendly personality made her a perfect recipient of this award, the Y said.

Reinhardt is a senior at Westfield High School planning to attend UCLA.  According to the Y, she has participated in the YMCA civic engagement programs of Model United Nations and Youth and Government, holding leadership roles in both.  Reinhardt took responsibility for program development, outreach, peer leadership and mentorship and was selected as one of only two students to represent the State of New Jersey at a national conference in Washington, D.C., where she lobbied for YMCA initiatives with senators and congressmen. 

According to the Y, Reinhardt then created a statewide conference, coming to fruition in 2016, titled Youth Advocacy Day. The conference will enable 13 delegates from across New Jersey to meet with state legislators and lobby for legislation they wrote themselves for this year’s Youth and Government conference. 

Using that same drive and passion for youth empowerment, the Y said, Reinhardt was able to start Westfield’s first junior legislator delegation with the support of a Y advisor. She contacted principals and former teachers and eventually presented the program in six different sessions to local seventh and eighth grade students. Her  recognition for her dedication to the YMCA Civic Engagement programs and her efforts to provide more youth in our community the same empowering experience earned her the Youth of the Year Award, the Y announced.