AHS senior has participated at the club since she was 5

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

The Alice Boys and Girls Club recently selected Jeanette Castillo as the club's Youth of the Year.

Castillo, a senior at Alice High School, told those in attendance at a special ceremony in her honor that she has been in the Boys and Girls Club since she was five years old.

"I grew up as a Boys and Girls Club kid," Castillo said. "I can still remember Christmas caroling like the kids are doing now."

Boys and Girls Club Director Rick Del Bosque said he has enjoyed watching Castillo grow from being a child participating in programs to a leader in the club.

"We're just really ecstatic to have her be the recipient of the youth of the year prize," Del Bosque said. "We were her role models, and through the years you can see her no longer as the participant, but to being one who explains it."

The Youth of the Year award is selected by a committee made up of Boys and Girls Club staff, and Del Bosque said Castillo was the clear choice for the committee this year.

Del Bosque said Castillo has helped with a number of club events, including helping with the steak and burger fundraiser, assisting with summer trips and coaching a kickball team.

"She's a bit shy, but when it comes time to take charge, she'll lead," Del Bosque said. "I think since the club has given her that sense of identity, that sense of belonging, she can do what she wants to do."

Two of Castillo's sisters, Leslie and Becky, are previous youth of the year winners, and Castillo said she was thankful for the impact the club has had in her family's life.

"I would like to thank God for bringing these wonderful kids out of trouble and making the Boys and Girls Club a positive place for kids," Castillo said.

Castillo is the daughter of Javier and Norma Castillo.