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Being recently named the Boys & Girls Club of Vista's 2018 Youth of the Year is a proud moment for Emely Rosales and one she won't soon forget.

"It's very exciting and rewarding; a whole new experience," she said. "I was shocked when I first found out."

Rosales, 16, a junior at North County Trade Tech High School, was honored along with 24 club members at the celebration on Jan. 31.

The award is based on youth contributions to their club, school, community and family, as well as on academic success, healthy lifestyles, leadership and obstacles overcome. The distinguished Youth of the Year award was presented by the club's CEO, Matt Koumaras. The Boys & Girls Club of Vista's Foundation trustees will also present Rosales with a scholarship at the club's Diamond Gala on March 2 at the Westin Carlsbad.

Rosales said she became involved with the club four years ago when she was about 12 for middle school community service hours as a volunteer.

"I do recommend the club to other kids because it's fun, the club is like another home, you can meet kids and you are not judged," she said. "Besides making friends you can learn other activities like guitar, dancing, sports and more.

"Since I've been at the club, I've taught some of the kids how to play the ukulele," she said. "Once we went to a charity event where I played the ukulele while the kids sang. I've also taught both boys and girls baton."

Rosales also participates in her high school's robotics team, has performed Folkolorico dancing from an early age, and enjoys baton twirling and reading.

Her favorite subjects in school are math, English and computer programming.

"I'm currently thinking of biomedical engineering or biomedical technician," she said of potential career choices.

Rosales said the club has helped her grow and become more social over the years.

"It has also helped me a lot with depression and anxiety," she said. "I've had problems at home and the club has helped my family to grow together and get connected. The kids here are happy and make me feel happy; that they are safe while at the club makes me feel happy. I like that they know they can rely on me no matter what."

The recent event recognized youth of all ages who have shown outstanding achievement, leadership or citizenship while participating in Boys & Girls Club of Vista's programs and activities.

Diamond Gala March 2, 2019!