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East's Destiny Anaya Represents the Best of Boys and Girls Clubs

Destiny Anaya From the age of 5, Destiny Anaya has found a welcome home in the Boys and Girls Clubs of Pueblo County.

Now a 16-year-old sophomore scholar and athlete at East High School, Destiny recently was named Boys and Girls Clubs of Pueblo County’s Youth of the Year.  She next will represent Pueblo County in the 2021 Boys and Girls Clubs Colorado Youth of the Year competition.

Destiny hopes to join Central High School’s Joseph Ochoa, the 2020 Colorado Youth of the Year, in this prestigious honor.

Jessica Campbell, Director of Workforce Development for Boys and Girls Clubs of Pueblo County, said Destiny was selected as the local Youth of the Year based on “outstanding character and leadership ability.” As part of the application process, Destiny was required to submit essays detailing the Club’s impact on her life and how the life lessons learned assisted her through challenges and struggles.

“She also completed an interview and submitted two letters of reference and a resume,” Ms. Campbell added. 

From the time she was a student at Park View Elementary School, Destiny has embraced the title of “Club Kid.”  Within the Clubs of Park View and Risley, Destiny found a safe haven with ample opportunities to expand her horizons.

“The Club has kept me away from doing anything bad on the streets or with gangs,” Destiny said. “It’s brought me a lot of support and resilience, and it’s taught me a lot about responsibility and how to be able to serve my community.

“There are a lot of people who don’t really care about the homeless people, as an example. The Club has taught me a lot about how to serve others.”

While a STEM Mentor for younger Club Kids, Destiny was able to travel to Connecticut to take part in STEM training.

“That was really fun,” she said. “I had never seen the ocean before and was able to visit the beach for the first time.”

For the past four years, Destiny has served as a Teen Leader, which has allowed her to tout the positive aspects of active Club participation.

“In that role, I’m able to facilitate programs and mentor the kids if they ever want to talk,” Destiny said. “Some kids don’t feel comfortable talking to the adults, so it’s nice for them to be able to talk to me, because they can be more open. 

“And I always tell them that they should keep coming to the Club. A lot of kids, when they start growing up, don’t want to come anymore, because they feel it’s too childish or just for kids. But I encourage them to keep going, because the Club gave me the support I needed, and I feel I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.”

With the title of Youth of the Year comes a scholarship to Colorado State University Pueblo, which Destiny plans to apply to her studies to become an occupational therapist who works with children.

“I want to be able to support the disabled,” she said. “When my niece and nephew were little, they had sensory issues, and the therapist would always come to our house and guide them back to health and a normal life as a kid. And that inspired me.”

On June 17 at the PB&T Bank Pavilion on the state fairgrounds, Destiny will be among those honored during the annual Champions of Youth Dinner.

“It’s a great honor to be able to represent Pueblo at the state competition,” Destiny said. 

Adults, as well as youngsters, have been impacted by Destiny’s positive approach to life.

“She’s a very charismatic young lady and outgoing,” said Elly Naill, East’s Director of Athletics and Activities. 

Amy Goehl Hausman, Assistant Principal at East, has known Destiny since her days as a Club Kid at Risley.

“She’s always been a joy to be around,” Assistant Principal Goehl Hausman said. “Always pleasant, always with a smile, and always upbeat.”

Added Jessica Campbell, “Destiny is an example of what a Club Kid can look like if he or she is fully engaged in all the programs we offer.”