When I was young, crystal meth took over my father’s life. I will always remember his note, “God told me what you have been trying to tell me for a couple years. He told me to stop using or I would die and lose everything”.

Less than two months after receiving the note, my dad called and said his goodbyes. My mom called the police and explained the situation. The police warned that if we interfered, my dad might take our lives as well as his own.

That day I lost my best friend and hero: My dad.

Not long after, I was hospitalized in critical con

dition due to depression and starvation.

We were alone. My mom had to work extra to pay for all the bills, but at the same time, she knew I desperately needed more love and support than ever.

Then we found the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix. Since the age of five, I’ve grown up at the Club. My Club kept me safe and gave me opportunities to grow as a leader. I joined the cheer team right away and became captain! I had help with my homework and opportunities to volunteer in my community. If mom needed to work extra hours, I could eat a free, hot dinner at the Club. It’s my second home.

Today, I am proud to say that I am the 2014 Arizona Youth of the Year!

The Clubs saved my life. Because of the Clubs, I believe in my future. I’m already taking college classes to become an orthodontist. Because of the opportunities you provided when my family needed help most, I can dedicate my life to helping others.

Thank you for believing in me and all of my friends at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix,