Joliesse Carmona Perez on stage giving speech with scholarship check immediately after she was announced as the Portland Metro Youth of the Year by judges on stage behind her..

Joliesse Carmona-Perez Announced as 2020 Portland Metro Youth of the Year

At our annual Youth of the Year Celebration last week, Blazers Boys & Girls Club member and Wilson High School freshman Joliesse Carmona-Perez was named the 2020 Portland Metro Youth of the Year.  

An outspoken and inspiring young woman, Joliesse aspires to become a lawyer and politician in order to advocate for her others. She has been the recipient of multiple awards, including Outstanding Leadership & Excellence in Community Service and Student of the Month. Her innovative ideas have made a difference in her academic community: founding a school newsletter, becoming Chief Editor and distributing an advice column to peers, and combating bullying by creating a student leadership team that recognizes academic successes and provides mentorship to younger students. On the path to her dream, Joliesse currently serves on the Youth Against Violence Committee for the Multnomah County Youth Commission.

Five other outstanding local members also vied for the 2020 Youth of the Year titleThese youth were recognized as title finalists that uphold and represent our Clubs’ core values, receiving $500 scholarships along with their own prize packages. 

  • Arianna Perez-Garcia, a former Wattles Club member and KeyBank YouthForce intern who got her first job through the Club and has since gone on to intern through the This Way Ahead program and work at the Oregon Zoo’s ZAP program. 
  • TreNisha Shearer, a member at Regence Club for 12 years. Recently she was named the UPS Road Code Ambassador for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, advocating to peers about driving safety. 
Youth of the Year Candidates stand in a group against the Boys & Girls Clubs branded backdrop on the stage.
  • La’Markus Causey, a member at Rockwood Club, who dreams of becoming a mechanical engineer and creating a quantum computer. 
  • Gia Sevier, a Blazers Club member who wants to pursue a career as a psychologist in order to provide a listening ear for those in need of it. 
  • Alexa Ramirez-Hernandez, a Wattles Club member who is also part of the KeyBank YouthForce program. Alexa wants to someday own her own advertising company, harnessing the power of advertising and social media to positively influence people. 

Judges heard speeches and interviewed each of the six candidates at the Blazers Club prior to the Youth of the Year Celebration. During the luncheon, emceed by news anchor Elizabeth Dinh of KPTV Fox 12 Oregon, each candidate shared their story and speeches with an audience of families, Boys & Girls Clubs staff and members of the public before the judges announced Joliesse as our Youth of the Year winner. 

In addition to the title, Joliesse received a $1000 scholarship and a prize package containing a new backpack, laptop, and other items to help her achieve academic success. She will go on to represent the Portland Metro Clubs in the statewide Youth of the Year Celebration next March. 

Want to learn more about what it means to be Youth of the Year? See what Boys & Girls Clubs of America has to say about their premier recognition program for teens.