A big brother to the city

Mid-year graduate wins Boys and Girls Club Indianapolis Youth of the Year award


Photo contributed by Shane Hanley

Mid-year graduate Jonathan Rodriguez (right) won the Youth of the Year award. He gives credit to his mother, the Boys and Girls Club and their staff.

Tabby Fitzgerald, Reporter

After moving from Texas to Indiana, mid-year graduate Jonathan Rodriguez grew up as the oldest of five. The five were raised just by their mother.

After Rodriguez, his mother and his siblings arrived to Indianapolis, they needed a place to go when their mom was working or they couldn’t be at home which caused them to discover The Boys and Girls Club. According to Rodriguez, the Club gave him and his siblings access to different game systems, a pool and other things that they didn’t have access to at home.

“It really made my childhood, a childhood,” Rodriguez said. “The Boys and Girls Club is basically my second home.”

Rodriguez was recently named Youth of the Year for Indianapolis. Youth of the Year is an honor that celebrates the nations most aspiring teens according to The Boys and Girls Club website. After being named Youth of the Year for Indianapolis, Rodriguez has the opportunity to become State and national Youth of the Year.

Rodriguez knew that he was nominated for the award. However, he had no idea that he was going to win. To him, winning the award has showed him that he was capable of being a leader. He credits his success to his mom, The Boys and Girls Club and the staff. Without them, he says he wouldn’t be the person he is today.

Program director Shane Hanley has known Rodriguez for the past couple of years. Hanley believes that he went above and beyond which helped set him apart from others involved in the club and is why Hanley nominated him for the award. Hanley says that he will do well throughout the rest of the competition to be State and National Youth of the Year.
“Just to see the passion he had in his writing of what the club meant to him,” Hanley said. “I think he’s really going to excel (in the competition).”