Each year the Boys and Girls Club of the East Valley honors eight club members with a Youth of the Year award. The award is based on service and leadership in three areas; school, the Boys and Girls Club, and the community.
Chantinique Dancy, a Tempe resident and senior at Tempe High School, was chosen as the recipient from Tempe’s Ladmo Branch of the Boys and Girls Club. With this honor, she was also awarded a $1,000 scholarship to attend Rio Salado College.
After graduating high school, Dancy plans to continue her education by studying cosmetology, attending Rio Salado College and transferring to Northern Arizona University to earn a degree in business management.
"My dream of pursuing a career that interests me gets me out of bed in the morning," said Dancy. "I want a degree in management because I think it will be beneficial to know how to manage and run businesses. I am really interested in owning my own beauty salon and I want to learn the business side of the industry," she said.
The Boys and Girls Club has given Dancy support and helped her find purpose in her day-to-day activities. "I feel like I can be myself at the Boys & Girls Club. It’s just like being with my family," said Dancy.
Dancy, who joined the Boys and Girls Club seven years ago, was selected for the award based on her leadership in the areas of home and family, moral character, community service, club service, school and life goals.
She was also judged on poise, self-confidence and public speaking abilities. The judges also considered the obstacles she and the other recipients had overcome. She has stood out over the years due to her positive attitude, strong work ethic and leadership qualities.
As an assistant in the Club’s "Girl Talk" program, Dancy has also helped others as a member of the teen leadership-building Keystone Club and the Junior Staff Training team. She advises young people who are struggling with family or personal issues to talk to people around them who they can trust.
"If there is nobody in your family who you can talk to about your problems, teachers, counselors, and friends can be good resources. The Boys and Girls Club is also a great resource. I got most of my advice from talking to mentors at the Boys and Girls Club," said Dancy.
At Tempe High, Dancy is involved in the Black Student Union, the high school choir and dance programs. Dancy is a gifted musician and has used her talents to uplift her fellow Club members on many occasions. "I was born to sing and I love all kinds of music," she said.
Dancy says that young people should stay focused and be dedicated to what they are passionate about. "Part of being a leader is being dedicated and working your hardest to achieve your goals," she said.