19 Jul
  • By Mary Sue Godfrey
  • Cause in

Anaa Jibicho wins 2019 BGCA Midwest Youth of the Year!

Anaa Jibicho wins the 2019 BGCA Midwest Youth of the Year Award

On Thursday, July 18 in Chicago, Club youth and guests from around the region gathered for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Midwest Youth of the Year celebration. We are very proud to announce that Anaa Jibicho, a recent Club graduate from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities’ Mt. Airy Club, was awarded the 2019 BGCA Midwest Youth of the Year title and scholarship!

Anaa is a perfect example of a young man finding his way and striving to achieve his full potential. Anaa was born in Ethiopia during a time of instability and uncertainty for the country. Due to the ongoing persecution of the Oromo people, his family fled to Kenya, but they still faced danger and hardship. In July 2007, Anaa and his family immigrated to the United States.

As a refugee, life was not easy for Anaa in the United States. He struggled to learn English and adjust to the culture, and without positive role models to look up to, his life started to move in an uncertain direction. One day, while he was playing soccer with his friends, a St. Paul police officer approached the group. Instead of reprimanding them, the officer gave them a one-day guest pass to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities.

Anaa decided to give the Clubs a chance. He found positive role models in the Club staff, and he says the Clubs allowed him to achieve and to overcome adversity. Nine years later, he is a proud alumnus of the Mt. Airy Boys & Girls Club in St. Paul! As an active member of the Club, he participated in programs such as Career Launch, Money Matters, and Goals for Graduation, and has represented the Clubs as our Community Outreach intern.

Today, education is Anaa’s number one priority. He was a full-time PSEO student at the University of Minnesota, completing 21 credits last semester, and will be attending Pomona College in Claremont, California this fall on a full-ride scholarship. Anaa was named the 2019 BGCTC Youth of the Year and also went on to win the Minnesota State Youth of the Year competition. He will move on to compete for the 2019 BGCA National Youth of the Year title in September!

As he accepted the Midwest Youth of the Year award, Anaa praised the inspirational stories and hard work of his peers, and he encouraged everyone in attendance to keep working toward a better future for themselves and their communities. “As of last Friday, it’s been 12 years since I came to the United States,” he said. “I remember I couldn’t defend myself when I came here. I couldn’t stick up for myself. It’s truly an honor now to be up here to represent other people.”

Congratulations, Anaa!