Posted on May 6, 2017

Introducing our 2017 Youth of the Year: Stacey Moutima!

Boys & Girls Clubs recognizes our outstanding Youth of the Year who inspires a Club atmosphere of inclusion and excellence.

This year, our Youth of the Year is a member who has defied all odds. Stacey, who has attended our South Side Club since its inception in 2014, is the daughter of immigrants who has capitalized on every opportunity that has been presented to her. A 16-year-old junior, she is a member of the National Honor Society, an elected official of student council, and has led many service projects in the community.  As a Boys & Girls Club member, she is the president of the Keystone Club, a junior staff member, a leader in the Junior Achievement Club, and tutors younger members.

Stacey balances these responsibilities despite obstacles. Having a joint diagnosis of Freeman Sheldon Syndrome and Arthrogryposis, doctors never anticipated that she would be able to walk or speak.  Miraculously, she can walk but has difficulty keeping up with her peers.  Stacey credits Boys & Girls Club with opening her eyes to what is possible for her. In her own words describing her physical limitations, she explains, “my Boys & Girls Club and the family I have found there are one of the reasons that fears for my health are blips on my radar and not constant thoughts in my head.”

Thanks to the encouragement of her peers at Boys & Girls Club, Stacey is excited to be playing volleyball for the Club this spring. She says, “while I have a lot of limitations, my mind often limits me so much more than my body.” She is looking forward to adding “athlete” to her long list of balanced responsibilities.

While Stacey credits Boys & Girls Club as being formative to her self-perception, she has been equally influential to the South Side Club. Stacey has fostered a culture of excellence through her extraordinary leadership. She is a role model to every youth within her Club and school of how to embrace opportunities with integrity and perseverance. Stacey cares deeply for her peers and staff alike.

Last weekend, Stacey travelled to Perrysburg, Ohio to meet with the other Youth of the Years from Ohio and Michigan. She gave a speech, played games, and bonded with other Boys & Girls Club members.  Unsurprisingly, Stacey came away with new friends and lasting memories. We are so excited to have Stacey representing us this year as our model member!

“The impact that the Club has had on me is that it has helped me gain relationships that I don’t think will ever be broken.  I know 20 years from now, I’m still going to have those relationships because those bonds have been so strong.”

Stacey Moutima, 2017 Youth of the Year