HOBART | The Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana will host the annual Youth of the Year Dinner at 6 p.m. Thursday at Avalon Manor in Hobart.
The Youth of the Year program recognizes teens for overcoming obstacles and making outstanding contributions to their families, schools, communities and Boys & Girls Clubs.
Four Northwest Indiana clubs have nominated candidates for the honor.
Jordan Jefferson will represent the Hammond club. A member of the club for seven years, Jefferson often serves as a mentor to younger members and is active in the arts.
Mark Smetzler, of the Cedar Lake club, is a member of the Keystone Club and was elected president of the Cedar Lake club.
Dakota Johnson, who serves as a peer leader, is president of the Lake Station club and is a member of the Keystone Club and a junior staff member. She often leads sessions for the club because she's gone through many.
Aaron Jones will represent the John Will Anderson Gary Club, which he's been a member of for nine years. An avid musician, Jones serves in the club's music program and hopes to attend Indiana University in Bloomington to study music education.
Participants are chosen on local, state and regional levels. Five regional winners will head to Washington, D.C., in September to compete for the National Youth of the Year title.
The winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship and each runner-up will receive a $2,500 scholarship thanks to John and Marge Owens. In addition, each candidate will be selected throughout the year to participate in agencywide speaking engagements and events.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana again have partnered with Luke Family Brands for this year's program. Luke will be a $10,000 sponsor for the third year.