We are proud to introduce the Boys & Girls Club of Paterson & Passaic 2014 Youth of the Year, Ms. Jacqunea Wilder.
Jacqunea currently holds a 3.6 GPA as a junior at Passaic County Technical Institute, is an Honor Roll student, has earned her life guarding certification, was a forward on her basketball team, is a member of the Drama Club, was in the Top 20 at a regional Thespian Competition and has her sights set on a college education and a career in nursing. While recognition is not the reason for Jacqunea’s community service, she recently received the Community Service award from the Black Girls Rock organization for completing 200 hours of mentoring younger children at the Boys & Girls Club.
Growing up, Jacqunea experienced pain and disappointment as a child and had to take on the responsibility for the daily needs of the family at a young age, becoming a caretaker and mentor for her younger brother and sisters. Every morning, she made sure that her siblings ate breakfast, got ready for school and were prepared for the day. In the afternoons, she met her siblings at the Boys & Girls Club in Passaic where the staff comforted and cared for her so that she could relieve the pressures of daily life and focus on her goals and dreams.
“I’ve been a member of the Boys & Girls Club since I was six years old. They taught me to tie my shoes, do my homework, stop crying and set my sights on being successful and happy. I would not be planning for college if it wasn’t for the Boys & Girls Club. They taught me it’s up to me to create my own future and now I know that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.”
Jacqunea doesn’t use the trials of her early childhood as an excuse to underachieve but instead lets her experience fuel her desire to set life goals and uses her youthful energy and willingness to be successful. She often brings her teenage peers to the Club to provide additional mentors for the young children as well as engaging her friends in Community Service of their own.
We are so proud of all that Jacqunea has accomplished so far and look forward to hearing of her accomplishments as she steps into her future.