Youth of the Year 2022

Youth of the Year


Presented by:

March 10 – Virtual Event

6:00 p.m.


Six candidates from our Clubs will be competing to be named the 2022 Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana Youth of the Year. Our winner will advance to the State Competition.


Each candidate participates in a series of events to help them prepare for our big night. Thank you to our Professionals Advancing Local Success (PALS) group for helping them with speech writing, public speaking skills and overall confidence. Our members also learned dining etiquette at Asparagus and went shopping for professional outfits at Maurices.

Meet Our Candidates

Suri Desch

Duneland Club


Suri a member of Torch Club and the orchestra at her school. She was named Concert MVP in 2020.


“The Club has impacted my life in many ways. I joined as a crazy, rambunctious third grader. You can ask anyone that worked here, I am a totally different kid now. The Club helped me have structure and discipline that I needed when I was younger.”

Alaisha Brown

Hammond Club


Alaisha is a current Keystone member, Junior Staff and volunteered as a dodgeball coach at the Club.


“I really want to be successful in life. I want to be a criminal defense lawyer in the future. I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am now. I’ve never gave up, even when I wanted to.”

Jamie Cruz

Lake Station Club


Jamie has a passion for dance and helped found the Code Blue Dance Team at the Club. She is also an Auxiliary Captain at her school and secretary of NHS.


“I realized that the Club not only gives me great memories but also important life skills. It’s taught me how to take responsibility and to take charge of my goals and accomplishments that I set for myself. It’s taught me how to be a leader and role model myself; for not only the girls I coach but for every kid at the Club.”

Keilee Hurt

Merrillville Club


Keilee is the president of the Merrillville Club Council, working with staff and other members to ensure the best experience at the Club.


“While working in Club Council this year, I received an opportunity to help organize an outreach event for Brother’s Keeper, a homeless shelter in a nearby community. It makes me feel good to have some sort of positive impact on other’s lives in the same way others have had a positive impact on mine.”

Emma Wisenbaugh

Portage Club


Emma is a member of the Chess Club and Student Council at Willowcreek Middle School. She was also part of a Dove self-esteem campaign.


“I joined the She-Can-Tech program, which was run by one of my favorite staff members. The program taught me coding techniques as well as building products with Arduino. We also learned how to create apps and presentation and pitching skills”

Nia Ellis

South Haven Club


Nia is a member of the show choir and earned a gold medal from the Indiana Scholastic Music Association in 2021.


“My ability to be courageous definitely comes from a sense of caring for those around me. I believe this started when I had to care for my younger sibling when I was first faced with homelessness, but it has grown to include so many more people in my life as well.”

Thank you to our sponsors who made this event possible:

Presenting Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsors


Bronze Sponsor


Sheet Metal Workers Local 20

Advocate Sponsors


Haywood & Fleming Associates

Precision Control Systems

Etiquette Dinner and Shopping Sponsors


Asparagus Restaurant

Maurices in Valparaiso

Swag Bag Sponsors


Awards Network

Centier Bank

PALS Group

Friend Sponsor




Viewing Party Sponsors

Cask & Cellar

Old World Market – Valparaiso