Seventeen-year-old Santa Monica High School senior David Ramirez has been named the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica’s 2011 Youth of the Year.

Ramirez was selected from among four club members in recognition of his outstanding service to the club and his community, and his exceptional leadership among his peers, club officials said.

As Youth of the Year, Ramirez will serve as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica’s youth spokesperson in the community.

“The annual YOY banquet is truly a very special occasion for us to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of each of our nominees, their commitment to serve the community and their ability to overcome difficult circumstances,” said Aaron Young, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica.

“David is a shining example of a young person who has made outstanding contributions to the club and his community and has overcome many obstacles to become the leader he is today. He is a living proof that great futures start here, at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica.”

Ramirez has overcome a number of challenges including obesity, low self-esteem and a lack of academic focus due to his self-awareness and burning need to succeed, club officials note. He is actively involved in both the club’s Pacific and main branches, participating in programs including CollegeBound, Keystone and Leaders in Training.

Ramirez aspires to attend USC and one day become CEO of a Boys & Girls Club.

The Youth of the Year program honors club members for their academic and/or personal achievements, leadership skills and outstanding contributions to their community as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles.

The Santa Monica club member will compete in March for the title of Youth of the Year for L.A. County, and potentially beyond, and will be eligible to receive scholarships along the way.