Boys and Girls Club of Missouri awards $6,000 to Youth of the Year

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JEFFERSON CITY — The Boys and Girls Club of Missouri chose its annual youth of the year at a luncheon on Wednesday.

The club said the award is to honor students of the Boys and Girls club in the state who show outstanding contributions to their school, family, community and the club. It also honors students who do this while overcoming challenges and obstacles in their lives.

Out of nine teens who were in the running, the organization chose high-school senior Jazzmine Jones from Cole Camp. 

Her new title comes with a combined $6,000 college scholarship. $1,000 of that amount was provided by Disney and Toyota. 

At Wednesday's event Jones thanked the club for "stepping in as [her] life began to fall apart".

Jones said as she was growing up, her mother battled with depression, alcoholism and became abusive. She said her home life became difficult to cope with and she herself fell into depression until she became involved with the Boys and Girls Club.

Jones said she wants to become a social worker so she can be there for other children like the club was for her.

"I would like to see no child go through anything alone," Jones said. "It's rough to see other people go through the same things as me. I wasn't alone with the Boys and Girls Club and I don't want anyone else to be."

As the Missouri youth of the year, Jones will also represent Missouri and compete in Washington, D.C. to be the national youth of the year. It is the highest honor for a Boys and Girls club member. 

One Mid-Missouri teen was also in the running. Thomas Jefferson Middle School eighth grader Rubi Guillen was also competing for the title.  Although she didn’t take home the title, she said being nominated was surreal.

The teens who competed for the title are nominated by their local Boys and Girls Club chapters across the state.

During the event, the department also chose Emma King as its first junior youth of the year and Grace'e Carr as its military youth of the year. 

The Boys and Girls Club of Missouri serves 52,000 children in the state.