San Clemente, CA , 19 May 2016 | 07:00 AM America/Chicago From Member to Mentor Meet Lucy Vega Thousands of local youth have participated in The Boys and Girls Club of South Coast programs over the past half century. They have learned the value of education; character development; and athletics, focusing on positive sportsmanship and fairplay. Lucy Vega is one of those youth. “Lucy is a compelling example of someone who began as a member and transitioned into a mentor,” Boys and Girls Club CEO Allen Reese said proudly. Meet Lucy Vega Tell me about yourself. I’m Lucy Vega. I’m seventeen years old, and I’m a senior at San Clemente High School. I’m involved in the College Bound Program at the Boys and Girls Club. I’m also on staff as the Youth Development Leader. How were you introduced to the Boys & Girls Club? I remember my sister and I coming here when I was six years old. My mom has been working here since she was nineteen, and my dad started working here when he was young too. What are you responsible for as the Youth Development Leader? I lead the Club’s Power Hour. We group the students based on grade level, and I’m in charge of third grade. During the Power Hour, I help students with their homework. I teach students, and I’m also their mentor. How has seeing your parents on staff influenced your current role? Since I was young I would observe my mom’s leadership skills, and I learned so many tips from just observing her. A lot of the kids adore her, and I hoped someday I could be a leader just like my mom. What’s the most rewarding part of your job? Seeing the kids every day and making a difference in their lives. When I was younger, I remember staff members making a big difference in my life. So now, being on staff, I know I’m making a difference in students’ lives. And that’s rewarding. Is there a particular staff member(s) who made the biggest difference in your life? Yes, there were two: Azadeh Ghafari and Katy Storch. When I met Katy I was a sophomore in high school. She helped start the College Bound program here. Before meeting her I was not interested in school. I was getting all C’s. She helped me realize my full potential because I’m now getting straight A’s. Azadeh was also someone who helped me with homework and encouraged me to study for college entrance exams. She helped me become disciplined so I would become better prepared to apply for college. What are your future aspirations? I have been accepted to Grand Canyon University, and plan to attend this fall. My dream is to one day own a forensic lab. What do you hope your impact will be with students from the Boys and Girls Club? I want them to believe they can accomplish anything they set their hearts and minds to. Lucy Is Making A Lasting Impact Just like Lucy Vega will have a lasting impact with the students she currently mentors, State Farm Agent Chris Dolkas was reminded of his impact when he was recognized by one of his former student athletes. When his young children were Club members, Chris taught fair play and positive sportsmanship while serving as a volunteer coach. Recently, a former athlete recognized Chris and thanked him for being her coach when she was young. She told Chris the hour of sports was the hour she looked forward to the most during her challenging childhood. “After all these years her words reminded me of why I gave back then, and why I continue to support the Boys and Girls Club now. It makes a profound difference in these students’ lives,” Chris said.