Kallie LaForest was 9 years old when she first started going to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix Louis & Elizabeth Sands Branch. She has remained an active member ever since.
She says the best part of attending the club is the caring, supportive staff members. LaForest is especially grateful to the staff for introducing her to art, which is now one of her favorite hobbies in and outside the club.
LaForest is one of 12 outstanding Valley youth vying to become the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix Youth of the Year during the “Today’s Kids, Tomorrow’s Stars” event Feb. 18. The event, which ultimately will chose one youth to represent the chapter at the statewide competition, will be held from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa.
“The staff showed me how much fun art can be and they’ve also been there to help me with my homework so I can stay on track to go to college,” she says.
LaForest enjoys helping the younger members with art or with homework problems.
“It’s so much fun to work with the younger club members. Being a part of the club has helped me realize that I want to go to college and build a career working with kids,” she says.
The Deer Valley High School senior is on the Honor Roll and a member of the National Honor Society and the National Spanish Honor Society.
The club has taught LaForest the importance of community. She also volunteers her time to an organization that uses horses as therapy for children with special needs.
“I think it’s important to give back to the community because it has helped me so much,” she says.
LaForest plans to go to Arizona State University to study education to become a teacher or pediatrician.
Every year, thousands of children benefit from after-school youth development programs, extended services and community support programs through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix’ 12 clubhouses, dental clinic and outreach programs. For more information, visit bgcmp.org.
— Erin Saltzman
Tomorrow: Nominee Martha Ramirez.