Mayor Carlos Olvera, Orange County Youth of the Year Yary Rojas, Boys & Girls Club of Capistrano Valley Executive Director James Littlejohn, and Katie Paules, director of the club’s Via Positiva branch, stand together at the Dana Point City Council’s April 21 meeting. Photo: Andrea Swayne
Mayor Carlos Olvera, Orange County Youth of the Year Yary Rojas, Boys & Girls Club of Capistrano Valley Executive Director James Littlejohn, and Katie Paules, director of the club’s Via Positiva branch, stand together at the Dana Point City Council’s April 21 meeting. Photo: Andrea Swayne

By Allison Jarrell

Yaradset “Yary” Rojas from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley has been named the Orange County Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the highest honor a club member can receive. Rojas was recognized for her “sound character, leadership skills and willingness to give back to the community.”

Rojas was selected among 14 area youth as the new teen representative for all Boys & Girls Clubs in Orange County, and will receive $6,000 in scholarship funds from Disney. This week, Rojas went on to compete in the State of California Youth of the Year competition held in Sacramento.

Rojas, a Dana Point resident and graduating senior at Dana Hills High School, has been a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley since fourth grade. She has participated in club programs such as Toastmasters, Cooking Club, Soccer Club and Yoga Club, and was the president of the Keystone Club, a student run leadership program, for the 2013-14 school year. Rojas is also active in her church, where she passes out food and personal hygiene products to families in need.

Rojas was honored at the Dana Point City Council’s April 21 meeting and made a speech about how the Boys & Girls Club has positively impacted her life since she was 9 years old.

“My club is the reason that I am who I am today, and the reason that my future looks so bright,” Rojas said. “My Mexican culture has long dictated that the place of the woman is to be confined to the home, that education is not necessary, and one’s success is determined by the state of her children and the household. My club has taught me that my role in my future will not be confined to anything, that my future is filled with limitless opportunity. According to statistics, my future was not going to be successful, yet here I am, less than two months away from receiving my high school diploma and pursuing a college education.”

Upon graduation, Rojas plans to attend California State University at Fullerton and study biological science. She aspires to be a veterinary technician.

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