The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica named its Youth of the Year over the weekend, sending Gabriela Hernandez off with a scholarship worth $8,000 thanks to the generosity of donors.
One of the event’s highlights was a surprise for the Youth of the Year finalists. As they stood onstage at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows Saturday, emcee Deb Carson of Fox Sports Radio announced that a generous club benefactor who had been a Youth of the Year judge decided to award each of them $4,000, for a total of $16,000 for the youth.
Hernandez was stunned by her win as well as by the unexpected monetary bonus she received on top of her Youth of the Year prize, provided through the David A. Cathcart College Scholarship.
“It’s something I still haven’t entirely processed,” she said in a press release. “It means the world because the club means so much to me and for them to recognize me is incredible.”
The awards banquet was presented by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica.
Hernandez will act as the club’s ambassador throughout 2014 and will participate in additional Youth of the Year competitions with hopes of eventually moving on to the national level.
Established in 1947, Youth of the Year highlights the impact that mentoring from caring adults can have on young people’s lives.
The banquet was the first event to kick off the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica yearlong 70th anniversary celebration.