Wave Staff Report
WHITTIER — When La Serna High School junior Keyaira Bascus moved to Whittier she felt tested by her fears and insecurities and challenged by her desire to fit in and not be lonely.
Through the Boys & Girls Club of Whittier, Bascus gradually overcame her fears of meeting new people and found her voice, developing leadership skills and opening the doors for a brighter future.
As an example of bravery, resilience and courage, Bascus was honored as the Boys & Girls of Whittier’s 2021 Youth of the Year during an online ceremony Feb. 16. Bascus will advance to the Los Angeles County Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year competition.
“I would like to thank the staff of the Boys & Girls Club and my mentors for giving me the confidence to stand tall,” Bascus said. “I would also like to thank my mother and family for supporting me and allowing me to grow as a person. I never would have thought the very city where I felt the loneliest would be the place where I met my closest friends. I truly appreciate the guidance I have received.”
Bascus was one of three finalists for the Youth of the Year, joining La Serna High junior Norberto Reyes and Whittier High senior Isaac Guerrero. As finalists, Bascus, Reyes and Guerrero will all receive scholarships worth $3,333 from the BCM Foundation to support their post-secondary academic goals.
Bascus joined the Boys & Girls Club in 2018 as a leader in training member. Bascus is a talented musician who can play anything from a standup bass to a ukulele. Her favorite subject is biology, and she wants to be either a therapist or physiologist, motivated by her desire to help people grow mentally and physically.
Since joining the Boys & Girls Club of Whittier, Reyes has immersed himself in the club’s STEAM program. Reyes’ favorite subject is anatomy, and he wants to study medical science on his way to becoming a neurosurgeon.
One service project that resonated with Reyes was Go Baby Go, where he helped convert toy cars into mobility assisted devices for children with disabilities.
Joining the Boys & Girls Club as a middle school student, Guerrero was at first reluctant to make new friends. Thanks to his competitive nature, Guerrero grew to greatly enjoy the camaraderie of playing basketball and volleyball.
Guerrero has participated in the Christmas Toy Drive and Thanksgiving Feast. Guerrero’s favorite subject is math, and he plans to study business marketing and run his own business.
Pioneer High School senior Jeremiah Parra also was honored, as the Outstanding Boys & Girls Club Member. Parra loves to skateboard with his sister and serves as her mentor. He also enjoys writing poetry and song lyrics.
The Boys & Girls Club of Whittier has been serving the community since 1967, with a mission of enabling all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.