The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica has named Mylan Ross, a 15-year-old resident of Mar Vista, its 2016 Youth of the Year.

Ross, a sophomore at Santa Monica High School, has been a member of the club for more than two years. She hopes to attend Columbia College in Chicago to pursue a degree in music therapy or the performing arts.

“The Boys and Girls Club has played a huge part in my personal development. If it wasn’t for the people at the club, I would still be the timid, awkward, quiet person I was before joining the organization,” Ross said.

The Youth of the Year competition recognizes club members who overcome personal challenges to make outstanding contributions to his or her family, school and community.

As a leader of the club’s Keystone summer program, a character-building community service initiative, Ross says she developed patience and strategies for working better with others during difficult situations.

“We are so proud of Mylan. She works really hard and has the determination we look for in a leader,” Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Monica President Tim Blaylock said.

— Gary Walker