Utah’s Youth of the Year shares her story

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SALT LAKE CITY It’s a coveted title and award only one person receives. This year’s Utah Youth of the Year honor went to 17-year-old Evelyn Salazar.

Salazar has been a member of the Boys and Girls Club for 13 years – since she was five – and she said being Utah’s Youth of the Year has always been a goal.

“I always thought, ‘That’s going to be me one day,’” she said. “That’s something that I think I can fall into and am deserving of.”

The Lied Boys and Girls Club Director, Megan Foster, nominated Salazar for the award and agrees that the well-spoken, energetic teen was a good candidate.

“She just really exemplifies what we would like to see all of our kids do,” Foster said.

Salazar believes her time at the Boys and Girl Club helped to shape the kind of girl she is today.

“Learning everything I did at the club, because there are so many different programs here to teach you different leadership skills, teach you social skills, and life skills that you’ll need later in life,” she said.

Salazar has been using all of those skills in her more than 400 volunteer hours with the American Red Cross’ Youth Services Program. In fact, the teen was chosen for a special position on their board of directors as a youth representative. So, when it came time to reveal this year’s Utah Youth of the Year, Salazar said she really wanted it.

“I was really confident in myself but I hadn’t told myself, ‘Yeah you’re going to win this’ just because I didn’t want to jinx it,” she said.

For the girl who has come from humble beginnings, she encourages other kids to set high goals and strive to make them a reality.

“If you work hard and you really make yourself shine, I think that you will definitely be able to get it – it’s just up to you,” she said.

Salazar said she’s received nearly $3,000 in scholarship money so far, and she could receive more if she continues to advance to the national competition. She’ll be traveling to California this summer to compete in the regional competition.