[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/12/art.boys.girls.club.jpg
caption=”Carolina Correa, 19, is the first Latina to win the award.”]
Carolina Correa is poised beyond her years. When I meet her, she is fresh- faced and enthusiastic. She walks with an entourage for the first time in her life, but it’s well-deserved. The 19-year-old is the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year, representing 4.5 million young people in clubs throughout the country.
The fact that she is the first Latina named in the award’s 63-year history, isn’t something that’s lost on her. She came to the States when she was 12 years old from Colombia. Her dad was sick with kidney failure and her mom worked two jobs, so there was no one to take care of her. So, she joined the local Boys & Girls Club, where they taught her English and instilled the importance of education.
Carolina never stopped being active in the club. Over the last seven years, she has dedicated hundreds of hours to tutoring other immigrants. Her award gives her tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money that allows her to go to college and a platform to speak her mind. “Get involved, get involved, get involved. Always strive to be your best and always believe in yourself because no one else will do it for you,” Carolina says.
Update: Watch the CNN.com Live interview