Valero Energy Foundation Presents $ 260,000 to Harbor Area Organizations Benefiting Children
November 7, 2016
Understanding our Community and how BGCLAH is Making a Difference
November 15, 2016
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From left to right: Leonardo Soto of our Port of LA Club, Janely Mena of our Wilmington Club and Melanie Fontelera of our San Pedro Club.

We are proud to announce our Youths of the Year for our San Pedro, Wilmington and Port of LA Clubs. These three students, selected from the hundreds of high school students we serve, are some of our most accomplished Club kids who are dedicated to their communities. One December 1, one student will be awarded as the Los Angeles Harbor Youth of the Year for 2017 and represent our region in further competitions.

Meet our Youths of the Year:

Melanie Fontelera of our San Pedro Club

“I always carry these aspects and want to influence the minds of my generation to be the future and encourage next generations to maintain that positive future.”

Melanie Fontelera has been a member of the San Pedro Boys & Girls Club for the past three years. She describes herself as bold, compassionate, ambitious while hoping to “always carry these aspects and influence the minds of my generation to be the future and encourage next generations to maintain that positive future.”

Melanie is a senior at San Pedro High School with the hopes of becoming an attorney. Despite hardships in her home life, Melanie has maintained a 3.8 GPA in the SAS/Honors programs, is on the Principal’s Honor Roll, received a Certificate of Recognition from Mayor Eric Garcetti, and is a member of the American Red Cross and the Italian Club. Throughout her high school years she has gone from “that shy and timid girl and is now that confident and carefree girl that encourages people to become members to gain an experience that they will never get anywhere else.”

In addition to her academic success, she has also excelled in her community. Through the Boys & Girls Club, she hopes to “gain more momentum in encouraging others to gain new positive attributes and use their voice because it is limitless.” In just three years as a Club member, she has been able to become president of the Keystone Leadership Program, an active member of College Bound, volunteers 30-40 hours per week during the Summer Camp, participates as a Leader in Training and serves on the Mayor’s Youth Council.

Melanie hopes to attend a four year university, followed by law school and ultimately wants to become an attorney.

Janely Mena of our Wilmington Club

 “Everyone wants more out of life whether it is big or small, they just need the right support to move forward.”

Janely Mena has been a member of the Wilmington Boys & Girls Club for ten years. She believes that “everyone wants more out of life whether it is big or small, they just need the right support to move forward.”

Janely is currently a senior at Phineas Banning High School and is hoping to attend the University of California, San Diego as a psychology major next year. In addition to being a Honor Roll recipient for the past seven semesters, Janely is also a member of the California Scholarship Federation, Student Council, Magnet Council, and Educational Talent Search. She is also an active member of the Cross Country team, where she placed 3rd, as well as her Soccer Team, where she served as JV captain.

Much like her dedication to her academics, Janely is also very dedicated to her community. She is the former secretary and current president of Keystone Leadership Program, a member of Arts Academy, a mentor and volunteer in Wilmington, a Jr. Staff volunteer through the Boys and Girls Club of Wilmington, has participated in various academic and leadership summits and is a member of College Bound. She was awarded the member of the month, through both the Boys and Girls Club as well as through College Bound, and was awarded fantastic achievement and service to the community in 2015 by the California Legislative Assembly.

Janley ultimately wants to become forensic psychologist in order to “not only to help solve those crimes but understand why people make the choices they do.”

Leonardo Soto of our Port of LA Club

“I want to propose an online news website that would combine a list of dates of activities that government, private, or nonprofit organizations host. This way our youth have the chance to find new opportunities to help those in need and help them find a road to what they want to do in their future.”

Leonardo Soto has been a member of the Port of LA Boys & Girls Club for nine years. He hopes to “propose an online news website that would combine a list of dates of activities that government, private, or nonprofit organizations host. This way our youth have the chance to find new opportunities to help those in need and help them find a road to what they want to do in their future.”

Leonardo is currently a junior at Alliance Alice M. Baxter High School. He has been able to maintain a 4.05 grade point average, while taking honors and AP courses, running for Cross Country and becoming the Associated Student Body President and President of the Junior Statement of America chapter. He was also awarded a scholarship this past summer to study at Stanford University at the Junior Statement Summer School. He believes that “everyone no matter your background should be valid for a great future” and hopes to use his academic success to make that happen.

He has served as the Keystone Leadership Treasurer and was actively involved with every aspect of leadership within the group. Leonardo was nominated and received a position as an intern for the Los Angeles City Council for the 15th district. He plans to attend a four year university and ultimately wants to pursue a career in politics.