Azeb Berhane Youth of the Year 2013      

Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland is proud to introduce Azeb Berhane as our outstanding Youth of the Year for 2013, our Diamond Jubilee 75th Charter Anniversary.  The youngest of five siblings born to African immigrants, Azeb joined BGCO’s Anna Marie Whalen Branch the second week after it opened in September, 2004. “Joining the Club was the best decision of my life” says Azeb. “If the Club didn’t exist, I can’t imagine what I would be doing and the kind of trouble I would have gotten myself in.”

“The Club has been like my second home and, from time to time, it could be my first.” “The Staff and members are like family to me and I feel like they truly care about me and how I do in life.”  

Motivated by the tragic and ~ Azeb Berhane ~ untimely loss of her older brother to gun violence, Azeb will be the first in her family to graduate from high school and the first of her siblings to attend college.  In the near term, Azeb plans to maintain good grades and graduate from high school this June, taking local community college classes along the way to help prepare for her freshman year of college.  Azeb’s ultimate goal is to become a top athletic trainer/Sports Doctor, perhaps for a professional football, basketball, hockey, or soccer team or a university athletic program. To that end, she prefers UC Santa Cruz but has applied to a number of other schools in the UC and CSU systems; to Historically Black Colleges and Universities; and to other out-of-state schools where she plans to major in Kinesiology. Azeb’s community service has included successful stints at Children’s Hospital-Oakland; Teachers’ Assisting at school; and tutoring, mentoring, and program assisting at BGCO. During her 9-year membership Azeb engaged most memorably in Torch Clubs and Keystone Clubs where she served as president and treasurer respectively; Money Matters; Goals for Graduation; and Digital Connectors. The leadership, life skills, and athletic skills that she developed at BGCO helped Azeb to successfully transition to high school where she became a reliable teacher’s assistant, an active member of the Black Students’ Union, and a

3-year member of the varsity basketball team at Oakland’s Skyline High School where she served as team captain and lead the league in 3-point shooting. Moreover, she made the Honor Roll starting in her junior year and maintains a 3.5 GPA. “Azeb has a keen intellect, and worked hard. At the start of last year I saw Azeb as a raw, but thoughtful and engaged student. She was intent on improving her writing and dramatically did. However, perhaps what I most enjoyed was Azeb’s unique sense of humor, determination and perseverance.” “Azeb has overcome several obstacles, most notably some family struggles. Despite these hardships, Azeb did a fine job. Clearly she is a young woman of much character and accomplishment both in and outside the classroom. She is involved in Keystone community service projects at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland, bible study groups, and of course basketball, where she is a returning member of Skyline’s varsity.”  – Jeffrey S. Rapson, English Department Chairman, Skyline High School 

The Youth of the Year program celebrates 14 to 18 year-old student-members’ outstanding contributions to their family, school, community, and their Boys & Girls Club; recognizing their academic excellence, moral character, life goals, poise and public speaking, as well as personal challenges and obstacles they’ve overcome. Historically, Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s five regional winners have been honored at a Congressional Breakfast on Capitol Hill and have a chance to meet the President of the United States in the White House. State winners each receive a $1,000 college scholarship; Regional winners each receive an engraved plaque and, $10,000 college scholarship and compete on the national level; and the National Youth of the Year receives an additional $50,000 college scholarship and is installed by the President of the United States. 

Please join us in congratulating Ms. Azeb Berhane for her remarkable achievements including this most prestigious honor as 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland’s outstanding Youth of the Year for 2013—our 75th Charter Anniversary Year.