202 Magazine July 2012 (July 2012) - Page 38

/ 202 kids / for them BY ALISON BAILIN BATZ “My branch recognizes that all youth are different and, therefore, require different pathways of success,” said Doniar Mason, a soon-to-be junior at Westwood High School in Mesa. Mason should know – he developed into a leader for and advocate of the Club over the past needy kids,” said Steve Davidson of the Boys & Girls Club. Today, more than 40 Big Brothers Big Sisters groups have partnerships with one or more clubs — a total of about 300 Boys & Girls Clubs affiliates. “Doniar is a shining example of a teen taking an active part in this “My branch recognizes that all youth are different and, therefore, require different pathways of success.” – Doniar Mason year, most recently representing the Lehi Branch as its 2012 Youth of the Year. “I – through the Club – have realized that the road to success can’t be mapped like the tracks of a train that are laid with man’s mathematic precision,” said Mason. “Rather, the Club recognizes that the road to success is rough and full of challenges at every turn, like the great canyons and valleys that shape our country.” Through the Boys & Girls Club, Mason has found many mentors – and become one himself through the organization’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program. “More than a decade ago, we embarked on an experiment with Big Brothers Big Sisters: testing a program to encourage our local chapters and branches, respectively, to work together to provide adult mentors for partnership – and then some,” said Davidson. As a “Big Brother,” Mason helps his “Little Brother,” Isaiah, in the classroom, on the court and even with new technologies. Mason is encouraging Isaiah to focus on his classwork while planning for his future – a bright future. “I want him to understand that I am a safe haven – someone to turn to even in the most challenging of times,” said Mason, who was honored this spring at the 2012 Celebrate Youth Gala and Auction with a $1,000 scholarship from General Dynamics C4 Systems and a $500 American Express gift card. Up next for Mason? “Finishing high school, of course,” said Mason. “And then, off to space.” And he means it, already planning on using his scholarship funds to study aeronautical engineering in college. Big Brother Making Big Difference High Schooler Turns Mentor and Leader This year marks the 20th anniversary of Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Native American communities working together to serve youth. Today, more than 200 Clubs are on Native American lands. In addition, this is the 10th anniversary of the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Lehi Branch. The Lehi Branch, a collaborative effort between the Boys & Girls Club and the Lehi Community Center, opened in 2002 and is just outside Mesa. 38 202 MAGAZINE \ JULY 2012 \ 202magazine.com