Teens from the Lodi Boys and Girls Club recently competed for the local Youth of the Year title. Being selected Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys and Girls Club member can receive. The title recognizes outstanding contributions to a member's family, school, community and Boys and Girls Club, as well as personal challenges and obstacles overcome. This program was founded over 60 years ago through the generosity of the Reader's Digest Foundation.
Teens who competed were Isabel Esperanza, Berkeley Price, Javier Solis, Hafeez Khan, Unique Coleman, Dwayne Lee, Jocelyn Torres and Karen Moua. The winner was Isabel Esperaza.
Esperaza received a certificate and medallion and will enter into the state competition. State winners receive a plaque and $1,000 scholarship and then enter into the regional competition. Each of the five regional winners will receive a $10,000 scholarship and will enter the national competition held in Washington D.C.
Additionally, The Taco Bell Foundation for Teens presented a $20,000 gift on behalf of Tampa Bay Rays shortstop and Lodi native, Jason Bartlett. The donation recognizes Bartlett for winning America free tacos from the Taco Bell "Steal a Base, Steal a Taco" promotion after stealing a base during the 2008 World Series. The check presentation was made by Dan Lewis, Taco Bell franchisee and president of Lodi Boys and Girls Club board of directors and Bartlett's parents, Jim and Delie Bartlett. The Taco Bell Foundation for Teens sponsors the national Keystone program throughout Boys and Girls Clubs, providing teens with career, community service and education experiences.