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Murray Journal

Murray teen named 2022 Utah State Youth of the Year

Apr 03, 2022 04:58PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Murray teen Carissa Vera at the Utah State Capitol. (Photo courtesy of Carissa Vera)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

Murray teen Carissa Vera has been named 2022 Utah State Youth of the Year. Vera, a member of the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Boys & Girls Club, will receive a $5,000 college scholarship and will vie for the title of Pacific Regional Youth of the Year. 

Vera has been coming to the Miller Family Boys & Girls Club for five years. She is part of the student government over publicity at Murray High School. She has led service projects with over 80 youth involved to feed individuals dealing with homelessness. Vera advocates diversity and inclusion and increased mental illness awareness. 

In the fall, she will start classes at Utah Tech University in the marketing program.

“I am super proud to be an ambassador for the B&GC because I am able to give back to an organization that has given me so much. I am also able to go to college with some financial support which is a huge relief considering that I will be funding 100% of my college expenses on my own. I am excited to open the doors the Youth of the Year (YOY) and the B&GC has built for me,” Vera said.

The YOY award is a title given to one teen at every Boys & Girls Club nationwide. The local organization then holds a scholarship competition where one teen will be recognized as the local YOY. After the local round, the teen will then compete against other YOYs from their state for the state YOY title. Next, that teen will move to the regional competition and compete with winners from other states in their area. After the regional competition, the winners will go to the national competition in Washington, D.C. They will meet the president and compete to become the Boys & Girls Clubs of America 2022 Youth of the Year. The winners receive scholarship money at every level.

In addition to being a student body officer, she was president of the Keystone Club, a B&GC program that fosters leadership development. She also mentors youth and co-facilitates a sex education program called “All for you.”

“The most meaningful thing the B&GC has done for me is provide guidance when I was going through a mental health crisis. I was able to talk to mentors and safe adults,” Vera said.

When she tries to fit everything into her busy schedule, she is also a shift lead at Murray’s Chick-fil-A. After college, she hopes to land a career in marketing management.

According to Vera, her experience with staff at the B&GC has significantly impacted her life, and she encourages the younger members to take advantage of their time there.

“Every staff member at the B&GC has good intentions and is always there for every single kid who walks through the doors,” Vera said. “My advice to younger kids joining the B&GC would be to trust the people trying to help them in life and build long-lasting memories at the Club. You only get to be a kid once, and you can do that safety at the B&GC.”