The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City will host its annual Youth of the Year selection event at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Burns & McDonnell Auditorium in Kansas City. Two of the six finalists are KeiMonie Madison from the Boys & Girls Club's Hawthorne Unit in Independence and Vanesa Rodriguez from the Independence Unit on Leslie Street.
Madison is a junior at Fort Osage High School and a five-year Club member at Hawthorne. At Fort Osage, she has been an honor roll student active in basketball and track & field. At the Club, Madison has participated in SMART Girls, Media Arts & Music Matters (M.A.M.M.) and Keystone Club. As part of M.A.M.M., she writes songs promoting healthy living and how to impact the community. In the fall of 2016 she was finalist for the Lyricism 101 Cipher Competition, a national competition organized by Boys & Girls Clubs, and as such earned a trip to Atlanta and $1,000 in scholarships.
Rodriguez, a senior at William Chrisman High School and a five-year Club member, was the 2016 Greater Kansas City Youth of the Year and later a regional finalist for the national Youth of the Year competition. She has been involved in Diplomas to Degrees, Keystone Club and Meth SMART. After graduating from high school this spring, Rodriguez plans to pursue a medical career as a nurse or doctor.
The Greater Kansas City Boys & Girls Club winner will be eligible for the Missouri state title. Five regional winners are chosen from the state winners to contend for National Youth of the Year.