The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cumberland County is pleased to announce that Destiny Acosta was recently named the 2020 local Youth of the Year winner.
Over 12 years ago, Destiny Acosta came to the Boys & Girls Club and showed promise as an eager member who needed help with her academic success goals and to socialize with other youth. She said a family member suggested she join the Boys and Girls Club. As Club staff members suggested, the Boys & Girls Club became a safe haven for her and she soon discovered that it is a comfortable place for all kids.
“When I was in middle school, I became a volunteer at the Club and soon realized my leadership skills by the way I took on tasks and overcame challenges,” said Acosta. “I was able to expand those skills during the Club’s summer camp program by working with youth in my age range and younger, which allowed me to be a strong role model. Now, I am working as a junior counselor at the Club.”
Acosta, 18, lives in Vineland, and is a Vineland high School senior. She credits the Club for helping her be a leader, be more confident, and perform better in school. She illustrated the impact the Boys & Girls Club had on her to the judges when she was recently named the local Youth of the Year winner. She competed against three other Club members for the honor.
“I appreciate the Club for helping me become the teen that I am today,” Acosta said. “It provided me with excellent mentors who gave me much-needed advice for the future. The Club also provided me with great opportunities for volunteerism and helped prepare me for college. Furthermore, it’s where I started my first job and is a safe place where I made friends and took part in meaningful programming and activities.”
“We are so happy that Destiny was selected as our local Youth of the Year and will represent our Club,” said Chris Volker, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club, where is president of the Keystone Club (community service club) two years running and has been involved in practically every program that the Club offers. Acosta is also very involved with community service activities and has held leadership roles in quite a few. She also helps with such programs as Power Hour/Project Learn (homework help) and SMART Moves, which helps youth learn about the negative effects and problems with alcohol and drugs, especially prescription drug abuse. Of special note, she recently won the 2019 Junior Counselor of the Year for the Carl Arthur Center site.
“Destiny was a young girl when she started at the Club,” Volker said. “She is a now a confident and outgoing young lady. We know she had to overcome some hurdles in her young life, but she was able to overcome them. We, at the Boys & Girls Club, know she has a very bright future ahead of her.”
As Acosta mentions: “I could have easily been negative and took the wrong paths in life, but I chose otherwise and the Club helped me see the way. As the newest and next phase of my life begins, the voices of the Club staff members at the Boys & Girls Club will go forth with me.”
Acosta will be competing against other local Youth of the Year winners for the state competition at a gala celebration to be held sometime this summer. She hopes to follow the lead of previous Youth of the Year winners from the Boys & Girls Club: Jennifer Negron (2015 State winner); Alexia Lewis (2016 State and Regional winner); and Fradely Delacruz (2018 State winner).
Acosta plans to major in biochemistry at Boston University and hopes to become a doctor one day.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cumberland County, located at two sites Vineland, as well as two schools in Cumberland County, offers academic success, healthy lifestyle and good character and citizenship programs and activities during the academic year and all summer to 400+ students (ages 6-18). All services are funded by donors, the local community and state grants. Club accepts donations; volunteers are always welcome. For more details, contact Chris Volker at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 856-696-4190/856-896-0244. Or visit bgccumberland.org.