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2015 Youth of Character · YMCA of the East Bay


Each year, the YMCA of the East Bay recognizes some of our most outstanding youth leaders. These young agents of change stand out amongst their peers as positive, compassionate and dedicated community members.


Jennifer F.

Over the last three years, we at the Downtown Oakland YMCA have had the pleasure of watching Jennifer blossom from a shy 14 year-old into a passionate, outspoken youth activist. Jennifer has not only taken on high level leadership roles in our YMCA Youth & Government program, but is also an active member of several other social justice and youth advocacy groups in her community. In addition to her plethora of civic engagement activities, Jennifer also finds the time to tutor middle and high school students. We commend Jennifer for taking the initiative to make positive change in her community.

Miykailah L.

Miykailah played a critical role in summer camp this year at the M. Robinson Baker YMCA. Her eagerness to learn and work hard, combined with her caring attitude made her a top candidate for key youth support roles. Over the course of the summer, Miykailah served as Camp Project Support, Parent Greeter and Counselor Support. She was instrumental in keeping our day-to-day operations running smoothly. From helping with setup and cleanup to engaging our youngest campers and communicating important information about camp activities to parents, Miykailah shined in everything she did. Most importantly, she developed critical leadership and teamwork skills that will certainly help her be successful in school and in life.

Daionni M.

Daionni was the ideal Y camper. He actively, enthusiastically and wholeheartedly participated in camp activities and embodied the YMCA’s core values in his actions and words. Always conducting himself with exemplary sportsman-like conduct, Daionni went out of his way to help his peers and younger campers. He worked especially hard to make sure everyone felt included and always volunteered to help with setup and cleanup for lunch, game time or other day camp activities. His positive attitude and his willingness to fully participate and help others make Daionni a wonderful role model. He embodies the spirit of volunteerism and we look forward to seeing great things from him in the future!

Anaya M.

As an athlete, Anaya understands the importance of making healthy choices when it comes to what you put in your body. She noticed that many stores in her community did not provide healthy food options and set out to make a positive change. As part of the Teen Nutrition Group at the Y, Anaya was a key leader in a project that assessed local stores and documented their fruit and vegetable offerings, as well as the types of beverages they sold. Anaya also starred in a video that was designed to educate the neighborhood—especially youth—and influence positive behaviors. Anaya is a true leader and we commend her for her work fighting for a healthier community!

Mackenzie F.

Mackenzie was an incredibly valued asset to our summer day camp program. As a Camper in Leadership Training for the past 3 years, she has contributed tremendously to creating a positive and safe environment for our young campers. Mackenzie especially excelled at leading our youngest day campers in art projects. She demonstrated patience and skill as an instructor as she carefully explained the directions and purpose of each project.

Sarah C.

Sarah has demonstrated that character counts through her hard work and dedication in the Eden Area YMCA’s Youth and Government program. Once a shy student, Sarah has shown tremendous personal growth over the last year due to her commitment, drive and willingness to try new things. Sarah now holds the office of Secretary in her delegation and received the award for “Most Inspirational—a freshman leading by example”. Valued and respected by both her peers and the YMCA community at large, Sarah has shown tremendous leadership in fundraising, volunteerism and youth activism. We are so proud to honor Sarah as the Eden Area YMCA’s Youth of Character!

Rialyn C.

Rialyn is an active member of the Fremont Newark YMCA. She spends much of her time serving as an officer in our Youth and Government program, acting as a role model and leader to her peers. Rialyn is also active in dance and martial arts. This summer, she volunteered as a leader for two weeks at our Martial Arts Camp, sharing skills and talents with younger members of our community. Rialyn also actively promotes the YMCA youth programs at her school and out in the community. Her positive attitude and giving nature exemplify the spirit of volunteerism. Thank you, Rialyn, for being such an important part of the Fremont Newark YMCA!

Colin H.

A member of the Tri-Valley YMCA for 9 years, Colin has demonstrated that character counts in many facets of his involvement at the Y and in our community. Colin has spent countless hours volunteering at events, helping to recruit for YMCA programs and dedicating himself to fundraising efforts. Colin is also respected as a youth leader in our YMCA community. He goes out of his way to make sure that all feel welcomed and included. Colin has been instrumental in creating a warm and open sense of community at the Tri-Valley YMCA!

Sonora A.

Sonora “S’mores” possesses a leadership quality that is both authentic and rare. She has an innate ability to lead a team, providing both concise direction as well as creating a sense of community, in which everyone feels valued and able to contribute. Sonora’s leadership helped create a culture among her fellow Campers in Leadership Training that promoted positive communication, inclusivity and productivity. These skills have easily transferred to Sonora’s extensive work with younger children. Her aptitude for youth development practices made a considerable contribution to our team this summer and had a real impact on the hundreds of youth she worked with.

Hannah F.

Hannah “Nine” Fields played an important role as a Camper in Leadership Training this summer at Camp Ravencliff. Hannah’s strength lies in her ability to form strong interpersonal relationships. Her approach to communication and interaction with younger campers, peers and staff helped establish a culture of respect at camp—a critical foundational element in any strong youth development program. Because of Hannah, hundreds of young campers were able to learn, grow and thrive this summer in a safe and healthy environment.

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