The Boys and Girls Club of Hartford held their annual “Great Futures” celebration Thursday.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of America began in Hartford back in 1860. On Thursday they celebrated another year of helping children in the community grow up and do amazing things, and honored one very special Youth of the Year.
The Connecticut Convention Center was filled with people from across the state celebrating 159 years of the boys and Girls Club of Hartford. The event, emceed by NBC Connecticut’s Leslie Mayes, generates money that funds the club’s programs around the Capital City while keeping costs for families as low as possible.
The star of the evening was this year’s Youth of the Year Aracelis Figueroa, a senior at Pathways Academy of Technology. Figueroa has been part of the club for 12 years and says it has been her safe space and a second home over the years.
“I feel like it’s built a sense of community and it brings people in and we have a big teen outreach program. So it brings teens out of the streets and into the club and to do academic work, tutoring work, leadership roles,” she said.
Figueroa is headed to the University of Connecticut this fall, where she plans to study computer science so she can pursue a career in cybersecurity as a member of the Class of 2023.
“Ultimately, we want every kid that goes through the doors of a Boys & Girls Club to have a plan for the future. And Aracelis is a true testimony of the work that we do with thousands of young people here in the greater Hartford Community,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford President and CEO Sam Gray.
The Boys and Girls Club’s footprint is getting bigger- a new club is coming to the city’s South End, where they hope to help 1,500 more kids each year.
Learn more about the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford here.