For Immediate Release
Media Contact:Lauren Kamm
Vice President of Marketing & Communications
(303) 892-9200 x 106 | LaurenK@bgcmd.org
April 18, 2023
Boys & Girls Clubs of Colorado recognizes 17-year-old community leader, Naja'Ray West, as the 2023 State Youth of the Year
Denver, CO (April 18, 2023) – Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver is proud to announce that Naja’Ray West has been honored as the 2023 Colorado Youth of the Year. Youth of the Year is a 75-year-old, highly-esteemed national leadership development program through Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Nominees demonstrate outstanding character and leadership skills within their Clubs daily. This award is a celebration of West’s strong character, leadership, academic success, and poised, dynamic presence. West was honored this morning alongside 12 other State Youth of the Year candidates at a breakfast hosted by Boys & Girls Clubs of Colorado.
To reach the state level of this distinguished program, West won the title of Youth of the Year for both her local Montebello-neighborhood Club and the city title for all of Metro Denver. At the state level, West competed against 12 other youth from across Colorado over a period of two days. After composing essays, securing letters of recommendation, and providing transcripts with proof of excellent grades, the multi-day judging process included delivering speeches for peers, chaperones, and judges, as well as individual interviews with an esteemed panel of judges.
This prestigious honor recognizes Naja’Ray’s outstanding leadership and achievements within her Club, community, and family. During her 12 years as a member at the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club, she has led various community projects, including launching an annual March for Peace in Montbello as a response to gun violence in the neighborhood. She has also mentored 40 young female Club members and participated annually in the Youth of the Year competition. Naja’Ray currently serves as President of Keystone Club, a national leadership program for teen Club members, for Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club.
About Naja’Ray and her well-deserved win, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver CEO Erin Porteous says, “Naja’Ray is an inspiring leader who has already created immense change in her Club and community at a young age. Whether through bringing hundreds of leaders and neighbors together for a march for peace in response to gun violence or serving as a mentor for young peers at her Club, Naja’Ray’s commitment to using her influence and drive to change the world for the better is clear.”
As the State Youth of the Year, West will have the opportunity to proceed to the Southwest Regional level before potentially competing for National Youth of the Year. This state recognition is just the start of big things this spring for West. In just a few days, she will speak in front of more than 800 guests as the emcee for Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver’s Dreamers & Leaders Gala. Then in May, she will lead efforts for the third annual March for Peace and graduate from Highlands Ranch High School.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver changes lives. From the first day of kindergarten through high school graduation, we help kids succeed in school, develop good character and citizenship, and live healthy lives. At more than 20 neighborhood Clubs and our summer camp in Ward, CO, we provide our members with safe, supportive, fun, and enriching environments that inspire and empower them to achieve their greatest potential.