Romonia Dixon Heads to Washington, Pacific Region Youth of the Year < Return to News

GREAT FUTURES START HERE:
EXCEPTIONAL ARIZONA TEEN WINS BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF AMERICA’S 
PACIFIC REGION YOUTH OF THE YEAR HONOR AND SCHOLARSHIP

 
Tempe Teen Heads to the Oval Office to Meet President Obama

Atlanta, Ga., July 16, 2010 – Last night Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) named Romonia Dixon, a five-year member of Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley, the 2010 Pacific Region Youth of the Year. She receives a total of $24,000 in college scholarships from founding sponsor Reader's Digest Foundation, Tupperware Brands, Corp. and Toyota Financial Services. Dixon was chosen from ten candidates within the Pacific region and will compete for the national title in Washington, D.C. in September. Dixon and her fellow Youth of the Year candidates were honored at a celebration dinner held in Newport Beach, Calif. 

For much of Romonia Dixon’s life, her family has had to move to different cities and homeless shelters. Her family was separated several times to ensure each person had a warm place to lay their head for the night. On some occasions when shelters were full, the sidewalk became their resting place. Eventually, Dixon and her family received government assistance to attain living space; however, it turned out to be temporary. Experiencing such difficult living situations has taught Dixon to be very appreciative of having a place to call “home.” To prevent these circumstances from occurring again, Dixon contributes to family income by maintaining a part-time job during her limited spare time.  
  
Dixon came to the Ladmo Branch - Tempe at Boys & Girls Clubs of East Valley five years ago looking for stability. From her first day in the Club, she has taken every opportunity to teach younger Club members the importance of being a responsible, caring, productive member of society. Turning each life setback into motivation to succeed in life, Dixon uses her story to inspire and engage younger girls in her Club. One who believes in community service, Dixon is a member of Keystone Club - a leadership and service group for teens. She participates in a “Read to Me” volunteer program for kids at a shelter where she once lived. She also organizes canned food drives and maintains the park next to her Boys & Girls Club.  
  
Last Spring, Dixon graduated third in her class at Tempe High School with a 3.92 GPA and was captain of the varsity basketball team. She was also a member of the National Honor Society, Stand and Serve (a peer leadership group), Student Council, Black Student Union, Math Team and the mediation group at school. Dixon is currently a freshman at Arizona State University where she is a member of the Barrett Honors College and professional program at the W.P. Carey School of Business. She plans to obtain a masters degree in International Retail Management & Marketing and pursue a career as an international retail manager.  

“Boys & Girls Club is my home away from home,” said Dixon. “The Club has brought stability to my life and I am sure if children could, many would probably choose to pack up their rooms and stay there.”
  
As the Pacific Region Youth of the Year, Dixon and four other regional winners will have a chance to meet with President Barack H. Obama in the White House Oval Office in September. If named the 2010 National Youth of the Year, she will receive an additional $15,000 scholarship from Reader’s Digest and up to $50,000 from The Rick and Susan Goings Foundation.  

On a local level, Dixon received $30,000 in scholarship money; $20,000 coming from the Victoria Lund Foundation, a supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley plus other local donors including the Fiesta Bowl which underwrites the Arizona Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year Competition. 

BGCA’s Youth of the Year recognition is the highest honor a Club member can achieve. Since its inception in 1947, the Youth of the Year program celebrates youth who have overcome enormous odds and demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments. These deserving young people are recognized for service to their Club and community, academic performance and contributions to their family. As the organization’s premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year encourages Club members to reach their full potential by encouraging them to do well in school, lead healthy lifestyles and contribute to their communities. Youth of the Year honorees are shining examples and living proof that GREAT futures start at Boys & Girls Clubs.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) has enabled young people, especially those who need Clubs most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, some 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs serve more than 4 million children and teens through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs can be found throughout the country and on U.S. military installations worldwide, providing young people 6-18 years old with guidance-oriented character development programs conducted by trained, professional staff. Key programs emphasize leadership development; education and career exploration; community service; technology training; financial literacy; health and life skills; the arts; sports, fitness and recreation; and family outreach. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. 

About the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley (www.clubzona.org) serve more than 30,000 children and teens annually, and continues to grow to meet the needs of today’s youth, providing a positive place for all kids and teens. Serving members in Apache Junction, Chandler, Gilbert, Guadalupe, Mesa, Tempe, Queen Creek, and the Gila River Indian Community, programs are offered after school and during the summer and provide youth and teens, ages 6 – 18, with fun and educational activities, supervised by professional staff.  The organization also runs Mesa Arts Academy, a K-8 charter school.  The Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley’s annual membership fee is only $20 dollars a year and financial assistance is available.  No child is ever turned away if they are unable to pay the fee.

Download Press Release (PDF)