Youth of the Year - Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County

2020 Youth of the Year

Tatiana Cruz demonstrates the character, leadership, and academic achievement that epitomizes the Youth of the Year program. Tatiana’s dedication to her family, her educational goals, her community, and the Boys & Girls Club is unparalleled. She maintains an A average despite attending a rigorous high school (McNair Academic), working long hours in a restaurant, contributing to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County’s Keystone Club, founding and running her school’s Health & Wellness Club, and never failing to find the time to volunteer at the Club, cheerfully assisting members and staff alike.

Tatiana has also been a member of Junior ROTC, a volunteer at the Jersey City Medical Center, and a participant in the Boys & Girls Club’s workforce development and Diplomas 2 Degrees program. As a result of her dedication to her education, she has been named a Questbridge Scholar, 2020 Northern New Jersey Scholastic Art Award, and a Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished American’s semi-finalist. As a member of the Club for over 8 years, she has joined a myriad of activities from college tours to art projects to attending the Youth Summit in Boston representing our Teen Tech Center. A few examples of Tatiana’s commitment to community and the world include being part of the Jersey City March for Our Lives Steering Committee and contributing illustrations to a an reading primer created for a school in Rwanda. 

Tatiana is an eclectic youth with interests ranging from wellness and nutrition to art to community engagement to music. Through her involvement with the Club, she has flourished, socially, emotionally, and academically—from making friendships that will last a lifetime to setting new goals for herself to developing college and workforce readiness skills. Tatiana is a natural leader, a young woman with strong ethics, the ability to communicate clearly, and seemingly immune to peer pressure. She embodies the true purpose of the Boys & Girls Club, enabling all young people –especially those who need us most—to reach their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens of the communities we serve. 


Tatiana plans to pursue a career in healthcare and will begin attending Rutgers University in the 2020-21 school year.


"Ever since stepping into the Club 8 years ago, my life has been positively impacted through continuous mentorship and support. The Club is like a tree that flourishes with opportunity and I am profoundly grateful to be able to represent an organization that gives back to the community endlessly.  Not only did the Boys and Girls club provide me with a multitude of resources, from emotional support to college prep to music classes, but they encouraged me to dream bigger. No amount of gratitude or thanks can compare to all the Club has given me."

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