LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada hosted a memorable night highlighting what teen leaders have been able to do to help youth in the area. The 2023 Youth of the Year awards highlight their achievements.

“I hope I don’t cry on stage,” Anaya B., 16, a Youth of the Year award finalist said. “I hope I don’t cry, but I might.”

The Youth of the Year program is a chance to spotlight a new generation of leaders.

“I’m just in awe of what they’re able to do at their age,” Andy Bischel, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada, said. “That’s what’s so remarkable.”

Four finalists for the honor gathered for the announcement of 2023’s winner. The program began with an essay about what the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada mean to them, read in front of judges.

“Touching people’s hearts is what I tried to achieve,” finalist Rain Z., 15, said.

“I want people to know what the Boys & Girls Club has to offer, and what it did to change my life, and the things I’m trying to do today,” Nick A. M., 15, another finalist, said.

The finalists shared how they were able to overcome obstacles and transcend challenges.

“Any time I walked in, I walked out a better person,” Rain Z. said.

At the night’s end, Anaya was announced as the winner of Youth of the Year and will represent southern Nevada in state and national competitions.

“It’s an immense honor, and I really appreciate that I was given the opportunity to do that, after telling myself all these years that I could do it,” Anaya said. “And I’m finally achieving it, and it feels amazing.”

Bischel said the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada are more than the sum of their parts, crediting the people involved for the day-to-day improvements participants see.

Each finalist will be awarded a $1,000 academic scholarship from Charles Schwab. Some of those finalists say they have their own way of giving back.

“I plan to give back what was given to me – positivity and love,” Alex, 16, a finalist said.