bcgc_tay_mc_clainIjataque McClain to Vie for State Title and Scholarship

ASBURY PARK, NJ - April 19, 2013 – Selected among several local outstanding youth, Asbury Park resident Ijataque “Tay”  McClain has been named Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County’s 2013 Youth of the Year.  Tay will receive a $1,500 scholarship and compete against other Boys & Girls Club members for the New Jersey Youth of the Year title and a $20,000 college scholarship on June 3rd.  As the new Youth of the Year for Boys and Girls Clubs of Monmouth County (BGCM), 18-year old Ijataque is a true example of an extraordinary young woman recognized by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) 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.  As BGCA’s premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles. Youth of the Year encourages Club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles, and contributing to their communities.  Youth of the Year honorees are shining examples and living proof that great futures start at Boys & Girls Clubs.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Tay for going on nine years and have had the privilege of seeing her grow from a little girl into a young lady.  She has a heart of gold and genuinely cares about helping less fortunate people, especially children.  She is a prime example  of the benefits a member can receive when they take advantage of the opportunities the Club offers whether it be SAT prep, lifeguard certification, or volunteer opportunities,” said Isiah Jones, BGCM’s Asbury Park Unit Director.

Tay was born into a life filled with instability at the place where stability and consistency should be the most present – at one’s home.  The shakiness of Ijataque’s home life in Asbury Park continued throughout her early years and into middle school.  At age 8, Ijataque became a member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Monmouth County, where she quickly took advantage of all the services the Club had to offer, guiding her on the path to a successful life filled with the potential that always existed within. 

Ijataque has been a member of BGCM for ten years, actively and enthusiastically participating in almost every program the Club has to offer.  She began as a member of BGCM’s Summer by the Sea Day Camp, and then became a part of the afterschool childcare program.  Ijataque shined in the childcare program, swiftly establishing effective study habits in Power Hour, the Club’s homework assistance program.  Tay’s talents are diverse, with experience singing in the Club’s choir at holiday concert performance at the Continental Airlines Arena.  As an older member, she participated in SMART Girls, a self-esteem enhancement program for girls ages 10-17 that promotes healthy attitudes and lifestyles.  Tay was also part of Torch Club, a character and leadership development program, in addition to serving as a Junior Staff member and Counselor in Training. Ijataque participated in Career Launch, a workforce development program and was part of the Junior Lifeguard program.  She eventually became a certified lifeguard and worked at the Club during summer camp, teaching dozens of members how to swim.  Tay is also a member of College Bound, a BGCM mentor and scholarship program, that guides students in the college preparation and application process.  She will also receive a $2,000 College Bound scholarship from BGCM.

Ijataque has made amazing service contributions to the Club and still volunteers regularly.  As a busy high school senior, she still finds time to volunteer almost every day at BGCM and Jersey Shore University Medical Center.  At the Club she assists members with homework and helps staff serve dinner, construct bulletin boards, and implement tournaments.  At the hospital, she volunteers on the pediatric floor interacting with patients by playing games and reading to them.

Ijataque is currently a high school senior at Red Bank Catholic (RBC) and has earned a 3.2 cumulative GPA.  She is an exceptional, hard-working and goal-orientated student, already having been accepted to Georgian Court University’s highly competitive nursing program for  Fall 2013.  At RBC, she is the president of the Multicultural Cluband a member of the Life Club and the Minority Leadership Society.  Ijataque’s career plan after graduating from Georgian Court University is to become an Emergency Room or Pediatric Nurse. 

If Ijataque wins at the state competition on June 3rd, she will then compete for the title of Northeast Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 scholarship from Tupperware Brands, the recognition program’s national sponsor.  Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C., in September 2013, to compete for the title of BGCA’s National Youth of the Year.  The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of up to $50,000 from The Rick and Susan Goings Foundation and will have the opportunity to meet with the President of the United States in the White House.