Club announces its Youth of the Year

Stanley Cardona Toledo, right, is the 2019 Youth of the Year for the Boys and Girls Club of Bristol Family Center. The 17-year-old is congratulated by his mother, Carmen Toledo. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Stanley Cardona Toledo was named the 2019 Boy and Girls Club of Bristol Family Center Youth of the Year.

The ceremony was held Thursday, April 4, at the club on West Street.

The 17-year old’s story at the club began two years ago. After moving to Bristol from the Bronx, he was living in a shelter near the West Street clubhouse. He was given a Club membership as a way to spend his time.

For his first three months, Cardona Toledo explained, he kept to himself. After some time, he began volunteering at club events and began participating in activities such as the E-Program. He credited the program for teaching him that “you can do things on your own,” which in turn built his self-confidence.

Not long after, Cardona Toledo became a member of the Keystone Club. He said the organization helped him to learn that helping people and giving back to your community is a fun thing to do that makes you feel good.

Cardona Toledo now serves as the vice president of Keystone.

BBGC program director Nicole Steere explained that the process to choose a Youth of the Year begins at the beginning of the school year.

“To be Youth of the Year, you have got to have the story, you have got to have the commitment, you have to have that club experience, you have to have a vision for the youth growing up in the club to be like,” said Steere.

Cardona Toledo was nominated alongside Jeremy Artis, 16, and Logan Cote, 17, all students at Bristol Central High School.

In Steere’s opinion, all three candidates had the whole package. But the judges’ decision was based on who was most able to relay that package clearly.

The competition was judged by president of the Older Members Association, Don Coombs; Scott Gaudet, and Pat Mullen of Trumpf.

As the club honored Cardona Toledo as the new Youth of the Year, it said goodbye to the 2018 recipient, Daneirys Rivera.

“My past year as Youth of the Year has been filled with many experiences and obstacles. I was able to connect with new people, create new friendships and lasting bonds. I have become more comfortable with public speaking, I’m daring for new experiences, and I’m just happy to be represent here,” said Rivera.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.

Photo by Janelle Morelli