The Transylvania Times -

By Ray Tuers 

Club Names Its 'Youth Of The Year'


April 22, 2019

A diminutive sophomore girl at Brevard High School, called "pretty amazing" by the staff of the Cindy Platt Boys & Girls Club, has been named the Club's Youth of the Year, a high honor among the organization's 81 teenage members.

Carla Martinez, 15, has been a club member for more than eight years.

She was chosen Youth of the Year from among members aged 14 to 18, cited for being outstanding in the club's three programming areas: academic success, healthy lifestyles, and good character and citizenship.

"I guess I'm very proud," she said modestly, flashing a broad smile. "I don't know what more I can say."

Courtney Hoffses, the club's teen services director, said she and the organization's operations director, Jamie Atkinson, could say a lot more. They chose Martinez and feel she was an obvious pick.

"She stands out as a great representative of what our club is all about," said Hoffses. "I'm very proud of her...She's pretty amazing!"

Martinez makes up in energy what she lacks in size (she stands 4-feet-11). She plays striker on the girls' varsity soccer team at school.

She's fluent in Spanish and is quick to help translate at the club when needed.

Her favorite subject in school is math, never the easiest class. And she loves to sing and is studying vocal music this semester.

Martinez was one of six teens at the club who were eligible for the Youth of the Year crown.

She will hold it for one year.

As the local winner, she competed last month in state competition. There, she was interviewed by judges, submitted three essays and gave a speech.

"I was nervous," she said with a giggle.

Though Martinez didn't win the state title, Hoffses said her growth in such areas as public speaking is one reason she was chosen Youth of the Year.

Hoffses recalls the time she went to see Martinez in a "Poetry Slam" back in eighth grade, when she had to memorize a poem by Maya Angelou and recite it before an audience.

"Then she was really nervous, understandably," said Hoffses. "Her confidence has grown so much since then!"

Martinez is the oldest of four children who live with their mother in Brevard. Her two sisters and one brother are also members of the Boys & Girls Club.

She has dreams of becoming a model or fashion designer, or she might continue her studies of Spanish and become a translator, she said.

The Youth of the Year competition, which goes all the way up to a U.S. title, is sponsored by the national Boys & Girls Club organization.

Today, more than 4,000 clubs affiliated with the national group, such as Transylvania's, serve nearly four million young people annually.

They provide a safe place, caring staff and adult mentors, fun, friendship and high-impact youth develop-ment programs during critical non-school hours.

The local club launched its annual fund drive this month.

More about its activities and how to contribute may be found on its website,


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