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Imani Bender is Boys & Girls Clubs of King County’s 2014 Youth of the Year!

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Youth of the Year is Boys & Girls Clubs of King County’s premiere youth recognition event. Presented by Microsoft, the event welcomed nearly 250 business leaders and youth advocates at the Washington Athletic Club on Tuesday, February 11th. Imani Bender, a member of the Ballard Club, walked away with the winning title and a $2,000 education scholarship.

Says Imani, “The Boys & Girls Club saw potential within me even when I didn’t see it in myself…the Club gave me the power to take on a leadership role in my community, in my Club, and in my own life. Thus everything I am and everything I will ever be is rooted in the foundation that the Club gave me.” Imani will go on to compete in the Washington State Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year competition on March 19th, in the hopes of advancing to the regional event and then the national competition. Bender, a 10-year member of the Ballard Club, is a natural leader, an honor student, a varsity basketball player, and president of Ballard’s Keystone club. She aspires to major in psychology.

“I want to congratulate Imani Bender on being named King County’s 2014 Youth of the Year. It was a difficult choice – the judges really wrestled with a tough decision because all 11 nominees are phenomenal teens. These are kids who are determined to succeed, and they have the full support of Club staff to help them along the way,” said Calvin Lyons, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of King County.

In total, 11 exceptional teens competed for the title. Each nominee was judged on leadership qualities exhibited through service to the Club, community, and family; their respective essays; life goals; values and moral character; academic success; and poise and public speaking.

Youth of the Year 2014 was made possible by Presenting Sponsor, Microsoft. Event sponsors include: Princess Cruises, Washington Athletic Club, Macy’s, Jim Mora Count on Me Family Foundation, and media sponsor, Dex.

A very special thanks to our distinguished judging panel: Connie Ballmer, Trustee, Ballmer Family Foundation; Jane Broom-Davidson, Director, Puget Sound Community Affairs at Microsoft; Ashley Rea, Director of Philanthropy at Aegis Living; Norm Seabrooks, Vice President, Local Market Head at Aetna; Jim Voelker, Youth Advocate; Patty Voelker, Youth Advocate; and Matt Walters, First Vice President at CBRE.

Hear more from Imani herself at this year’s LunchBreak! on April 10, 2014. See you there!

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