The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica named OlaMide’ Oladipupo, a 17-year-old honors senior at Culver City High School, as its Youth of the Year at the club’s Annual Youth of the Year Awards Banquet February 6th.
The Youth of the Year Award is the highest honor a club member can achieve and is designed to recognize outstanding club members for their scholastic achievement, dedication to higher education, service to community, contributions to their family and overcoming any personal challenges and obstacles. The award comes with a four-year scholarship stipend to the college of the honoree’s choice.
Tim Cuneo, superintendent of schools for Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, was the event’s keynote speaker.
“What the club means to me is a chance. It gives you the chance you need to get good grades or make it to college. It gives you the chance to be yourself. It gives you the chance to make a difference,” Oladipupo said.
“I thank the Boys & Girls Club for giving me the chance of opening my eyes to all I can achieve.”
The awards ceremony additionally named a club member as Youth of the Month for each of the club’s departments — Art Shop, Athletics, Learning Center, Games Room, Skate Park, Technology and Teen Center — and recognized the four Youth of the Year finalists.
The finalists included Oladipupo; Kaitlyn Nickel, a junior at Santa Monica High School; Alexa McCoy, a junior at New Roads High School; and Zuri Smith, a junior at City Honors High School.
Oladipupo says she has career aspirations to be a teacher. In the past year, she has shown an exceptional dedication to community service, club officials said.
She has participated in several key activities including her role as president of Keystone, volunteered over 200 hours to help with initiatives such as a beach clean-up in conjunction with Disney, a canned food drive, and a trip to Kenya where she participated in the building of a medical facility and a secondary school for the local children.
Oladipupo also dedicates her time to helping those around her, tutors other club members and is a role model each day to her two younger sisters, club officials note.
“The Annual Youth of the Year banquet is truly one of the most memorable times of the year for us at the Boys & Girls Clubs because we see our members being honored in front of their friends, families and mentors for the outstanding contributions they make in all of our lives,” said Aaron Young, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica. “These winners represent what the Club is all about and it’s a privilege to work alongside these inspiriting teens.”
The 17 judges responsible for choosing the honoree ranged from city officials, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica board of governors, company executives and civic leaders.