By GINA KINSLOW
Glasgow Daily Times
Carolina Villatoro joined the Boys and Girls Club of Glasgow-Barren County two years ago and quickly transitioned from club member to junior staff member.
The 18-year-old University of Louisville student was recently selected to represent the local club as its Youth of the Year.
“She has great moral character. She’s always a great example for the kids. She steps up and helps whenever it’s needed,” said Mary Lee England, program coordinator for the club. “She has always displayed leadership in the club. She has always been a wonderful example for the young members here.”
Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a club member can receive.
Youths who are awarded the title are recognized for outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and the club, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles, stated a press release from the club.
During the time she has spent at the club, Villatoro volunteered many hours to work with a group for teens that focuses on leadership and community service. She is also an active junior staff program member, which has helped her to develop interpersonal skills, a strong work ethic and a sense of community, the press release stated.
In addition to what she does at the club, Villatoro also volunteers outside the club by helping with local community park clean-up projects, the Back Pack for Hope program, the Barren River Welfare Association, the club’s booth at the Barren County Agricultural Festival, her church and other activities.
When Villatoro is home from college, she can often be found at the club.
“I have four-day weekends, meaning I don’t have classes on Fridays and Mondays, so usually every time I come to Glasgow, I always stop here,” she said.
Villatoro said she looks at the club as being her second family.
“It’s always a fun place to be. There’s never a dull moment,” she said, adding she feels her association with the club has helped her grow as a person and as a young adult.
Older club members sometimes mentor younger club members, working with them on a one-on-one basis, but Villatoro has never mentored just one child at the club.
“I feel like I mentor everybody,” she said.
England agreed and said Villatoro spends a lot of time with all of the children.
A Glasgow High School graduate, Villatoro received a commonwealth diploma and earned a grade point average of 3.3.
During high school, she completed six Advanced Placement courses, receiving one dual credit. When looking at colleges to attend, she had several from which to choose due to receiving five acceptance letters. She eventually selected the University of Louisville, the press release stated.
While she has not yet chosen a field of study, she is considering a major in criminal justice, thinking she might one day like to be a police detective.
Villatoro will travel to Frankfort on Wednesday to compete for the title on the state level.
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