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Jose Torres - 2019 Youth of the Year

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Our next Youth of the Year speaker is Jose Torres. Jose is from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties. Jose is a senior at Chiawana High School and has been a Club member for 8 years. You can often find Jose helping to raise funds for organizations serving the community. This Spring he is organizing a penny drive to support Seattle Children's Hospital. This is particularly special to Jose since he received care there for a brain tumor when he was 2 years old. My name is Jose Torres, but if you want, you can call me "Pikachu". This June, I will be graduating not only from Chiawana High School, but from the Club as well. I want to take a moment to talk about the Club, and how it has shaped me into the person I am today. You may be asking who I am? If you ask the teens I go to the Club with, they will describe me as the following: funny, respectful, inspirational, leader, and honest. I would say that I am a gamer who is silly, empathetic, artistic, and caring. I've been through a lot in my 17 years, like having surgery for a brain tumor when I was two years old, to my dad being deported to Mexico when I was in 3rd grade. Yes, these things happened, but I adapted. The two things that had a lasting effect on me, was being bullied and becoming a Club member. One was a negative experience, and one was a positive, but both had an impact in my life. The bullying started in third grade and didn't end till the 9th. That's 6 years of being bullied. Six years of teasing, name calling, harassment over my passions, crying, loneliness, then even thoughts of suicide. In 8th grade, I found out about the Boys & Girls Club. and I wanted to go. My parents thought it would be a good idea because I spent most of my time just playing video games. Going to the Club was fun, and so different than what I was experiencing at school. I used to wear a jacket that had a Pikachu on it everyday and at school, kids would make fun of me for it. But at the Club, I was getting all sorts of recognition. Club members would come up to me, talk to me about Pokemon, and eventually, everyone at the Club just started calling me Pikachu. For the first time, I felt happy. I felt accepted. I felt I was a part of something amazing. The Club has helped change me into the person I am today. They encourage me to step out of my comfort zone, and interact with new teens, I'm a part of Keystone Club, Senior Internship, Youth of the Year, college prep, and many other Clubs. I am not afraid to jump into new settings, and talk to people. Just having all the support from the staff made me better, more comfortable, and able to be myself. So, here we are today, and looking back on it all, it really does surprise me how much I've changed. I love being at the Club. I love helping out in the games room, where I run my two Clubs, Gamers 101 and Pokemon Club. Or hanging out with the teens. I will miss the Club when I leave. Remembering how kids looked up to me, connecting with the teens, and how the staff encouraged me. It makes me happy to feel as if I have a purpose in life. For people I'll meet in the future, they'll know me as Jose, but, to the Club, and to myself, I'll always be Pikachu. Thank you.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 35 seconds
Country: Andorra
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 1
Posted by: adrianne543 on May 21, 2019

Jose Torres is Boys & Girls Club of Benton and Franklin Counties Youth of the Year. This is the speech he gave at the Washington State Competition. We are so proud of him.

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