Download this release in PDF format


Friday, March 26,  2010

SANTA FE, N.M. -Andrea Castellano, daughter of Lawrence and Frances Castellano, and Desiree Garcia, daughter of Lionel and Louise Garcia, from the Pueblo of Pojoaque Boys & Girls Club were named Youth of the Year and Junior of the Year, respectively, for the State of New Mexico by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). Castellano and Garcia received their awards at the annual banquet held on the campus of San Juan College in Farmington, NM, hosted by the Boys & Girls Club of Farmington.

"We are so proud of our girls," comments Governor Rivera.  "They've both been a part of our Boys & Girls Club for eight years and their incredible dedication has now been recognized. They are setting a great example for the community and all of New Mexico's youth.  We look forward to seeing what their bright futures hold."

Garcia, age 13, is an eighth grader at the Pojoaque Valley Middle School and maintains a 3.8 GPA and is also the vice president of the Pojoaque Keystone Club.  This is the second year in a row that Desiree has been named the State Youth of the Year.

Castellano has become extremely involved in many programs over the years and is currently the secretary of the Kachina Keystone Club.  She is a senior at Pojoaque High School, maintains a 3.3 GPA.  She is also the Student Body treasurer.

By winning this prestigious title, Castellano will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Reader's Digest Foundation and an additional $1,000 scholarship from the New Mexico Area Council of Boys & Girls Clubs of New Mexico.  She is among hundreds of Youth of the Year winners across the country recognized by Boys & Girls Clubs of America for her sound character, leadership skills, and willingness to give back to the community.

Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. Founded over 60 years ago through the generosity of the Reader's Digest Foundation, the Youth of the Year program recognizes those who make outstanding contributions to their families, schools, communities, and Boys & Girls Clubs.

 "Since 1947, we have had the great honor of saluting amazing teens, like Andrea Castellano, for their inspiring dedication to their families, club, community, and their academic and career goals," said Susan Fraysse Russ, executive director of the Reader's Digest Foundation.

Upon graduation, Castellano plans to attend New Mexico State University in Las Cruces where she will work towards a degree in the medical field.  With the two scholarships and another $1,000 from the Pueblo of Pojoaque Boys & Girls Club, Andrea is well on her way to realizing her dreams. Recently, she received yet another accolade: this time, a $2,000 scholarship from the Charles Schwab Foundation for her participation in Money Matters, a national BGCA program.

"Andrea and all Youth of the Year nominees are living proof that Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide are fulfilling their mission of inspiring and enabling young people," said Roxanne Spillett, president, BGCA.  "We are most appreciative to the Reader's Digest Foundation for their long-time support of our Youth of the Year program and for helping club members' dreams come true."

On Wednesday, May 5, 2010, Castellano will compete against other youths nominated from BGCA's Southwest Region, in Dallas, TX. If named regional winner, she will be awarded a $10,000 college scholarship and will then advance to the national competition in Washington.  The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional $15,000 college scholarship and, in a special ceremony held at the Oval Office, will be formally installed by President Barack Obama.

The Pueblo of Pojoaque Boys & Girls Club mission is to inspire and enable all young people to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.


Jennifer Marshall