Brianna P. was introduced to the Boys & Girls Club of Bristol at age 9, timid and unsure of what her future held. Having watched her family struggle with addiction and difficult life choices, Brianna grew up much faster than many of her peers.
Determined to take charge of her future, it was through the Club that she immediately found a safe environment with positive influences among Club staff to remind her of her full potential. Now, she’s resolved to change the narrative for kids and teens who may be facing similar challenges.
“The most important thing to me is my mission to empower the youth of America to take advantage of the opportunities and resources that the Boys & Girls Club provides, and I hope my story will inspire others to do just that,” she said.
Brianna’s amazing story is the reason why she was selected as the 2021-22 Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Youth of the Year Winner, and why she was awarded a new Toyota Corolla during a special presentation at Stephen Toyota in Bristol, Connecticut, on April 1. Brianna was joined by the 2020-21 winner Josias R., who is also a member of Bristol Boys & Girls Club and was awarded a Corolla from Stephen Toyota last year. Representatives from Toyota, Bristol Boys & Girls Club and the Bristol community attended the celebration.
National Youth of the Year is Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition for teens who have made outstanding contributions to their family, school, community and local Club while overcoming personal obstacles. Nominations begin at the Club and continue through the state, regional and national levels. Participants are chosen on local and state levels, with five regional winners meeting each September in Washington D.C., to compete for the National Youth of the Year title. Five judges individually interview each candidate and select the national winner.
“Brianna represents everything the Youth of the Year program is about,” said Steve Barberino, Jr., dealer principal and owner of Stephen Toyota. “She has worked hard to overcome many obstacles in her life and has become a compassionate, caring young woman who is a role model for others. We are proud to partner with such a great youth organization to celebrate and support such an extraordinary young woman.”
This is the 11th Corolla that Toyota has awarded to a National Youth of the Year winner since 2011. And it’s one component of Toyota’s longstanding relationship with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Toyota has remained committed to not only providing resources at the local and national levels, but also providing time and expertise with volunteerism and workforce readiness programs.
“I will forever be thankful to Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Toyota for all they have done to broaden my economic opportunity and mobility,” Brianna said.
Brianna is a graduate of E.C. Goodwin Technical High School in New Britain, Connecticut and attends Central Connecticut State University, where she studies social work.