ELIZABETH, NJ - Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County recently announced the 2021 Youth of the Year winner, Joy S from the Elizabeth Club. Joy was chosen from three finalists from the Union, Elizabeth, and Plainfield Clubs. Joy is a 17-year-old junior at Union County Vocational Technical High School and plans to attend Kean University to be a preschool teacher.  She has been a member of the Elizabeth Club for the past four years. She currently serves as a BGCUC Elizabeth Keystone Club (Teen Leadership) Vice President, an Educator rising at Union County vocational technical school, and usher/praiser team leader at Orient Church of God in Jersey City.

Joy now moves on to Boys & Girls Clubs of New Jersey State Youth of the Year competition, where she will compete against 18 other Youth of the Year winners in New Jersey.

“Each of the finalists is a winner! Youth of the Year is our premier recognition program for Club members. We always look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our members,” said Russell Triolo, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County. “It’s great to see our members receive recognition for all that they do at the Club and in the community”.

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Joy competed with Nasim C. of the Plainfield Club and Moyosola A. of the Union Club. Each of these members is a leader in their Club. Nasim attends Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey and plans to attend Ohio State University to study Business. His future plan is open a Sports Rehabilitation Center. Moyosola works 2 part-time jobs, is a member of the National Honor Society and maintains a 4.5 GPA. She will be attending Steven’s Institute of Technology to study Artificial Intelligence. 

Thanks to partner and long-time supporter, Christopher Hillmann, this year’s finalists and winner will each receive a partial college scholarship. Joy will receive $10,000; Nasim and Moyosola will each receive $5,000. Chris Hillmann shared his inspiration with our finalists; his father passed away when he was young and someone reached out and helped him. He has never forgotten the impact this gesture has made in his life. Chris gave our finalists words of wisdom: have integrity, work hard, open your mind and serve in your community.

Each of these members went through an arduous application process and then appeared before a panel of judges. This year’s judges were: Mark Kaminski of Phillips 66; Richard Rodman; Jocelyn Virgil-Phillips of Blue Apron; Michele Spinowitz of Hillmann Consulting; and Dr. Demond Hargrove of Union County College. Head judge, Michele Spinowitz, said the finalists were very close in scoring and each of them should be proud of their accomplishments.