Venice High School senior honored by Boys & Girls Clubs of Venice
By Kamala Kirk
Every year, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Venice hosts an annual Youth of the Year Competition that celebrates youth who
have overcome enormous odds and demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments.
This year the competition and ceremony were held virtually, and the club’s four Youth of the Year candidates shared stories about their achievements, challenges and how the club has prepared them for a bright future.
The Youth of the Year recognition is the highest honor a club member can receive, and the 2021 Youth of the Year winner was Alonna Deshotel, a senior at Venice High School. She has been a member of the club for three years and also received a scholarship.
“What I enjoyed about being a member of the club is that I get lots of opportunities such as scholarships and training for jobs,” Deshotel said. “The club goes out of its way to help you achieve your goals and works to set you up for a better future. I’ve gained a lot from the club including friends and counselors I can go to if I ever need help. But my biggest takeaway from the club would be that they helped me discover my passion for art, which has really helped me in my personal life.”
Deshotel has proven that she is a natural-born leader and is also secretary of her school’s Black Student Union. She hopes to become a marine biologist after earning her degree and wants to one day find a solution to water pollution.
“After the main event where all of the nominees gave their interviews and speeches, the judges went into a separate breakout room to deliberate,” Deshotel said.
“When they came back and said my name, I was in shock, completely frozen. At that moment I had no clue if I had imagined it or if she really said my name. After I processed what happened, pure joy ripped through me – it felt amazing to be recognized and receive such an honor. I was honestly so happy that I couldn’t stop dancing and jumping, and my mother joined me and shared my excitement. I felt true satisfaction that day.”
Next, Deshotel will move on to the next round and represent BGCV at the Los Angeles County Alliance Boys & Girls virtual Youth of the Year Awards. She looks forward to continuing to give back to others and help those in need.
“COVID-19 has impacted the work I do for the club because ever since we’ve been quarantined, it’s been hard to have activities hosted by the club for seniors such as myself,” Deshotel said.
“Giving back is important to me because I do come from a place that didn’t have a shortage of struggles, and like someone was to me, I want to be a pillar of support for someone and help them find their way. I want to be a guide because it feels good to be that hand that reaches out to others.”
For more information, visit bgcv.org