Gretna teen is Youth of the Year for Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana _lowres

Photo provided by Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana -- DeVontreŽ O'Chey Parker is the Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana has chosen DeVontré Parker, of Gretna, as its Youth of the Year. Parker will have the opportunity to compete for the Louisiana state honor and a college scholarship at the Capitol in Baton Rouge.

The Youth of the Year program encourages club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles and contributing to their communities.

“DeVontré has really found his voice as a member of the Boys & Girls Club, and he has emerged as a true leader who is respected by his peers,” said Will Giannobile, director of the Westbank Unit of Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana. “We are proud of what he has accomplished as a member of the Westbank Club.”

Ashleigh Foxworth, the club’s teen program coordinator, has mentored Parker for the past few years. “DeVontré is committed to making an impact on the world and leaving his mark on the Boys & Girls Club,” Foxworth said.

Parker is a sophomore at West Jefferson High School, where he is an honor roll student and has qualified for the TOPS program. He has been a member of the Westbank Club for more than four years, and has been elected president of the Keystone Club, a leadership development program for teens, for the past two years. Parker hopes to attend Louisiana State University and major in sports medicine.

“The Boys & Girls Club has had a great impact on my life,” Parker wrote in his essay application. Bullying has been an issue he has faced in school. “(Bullying) is an obstacle I face every day. My time at the Boys & Girls Club has helped me deal with that.”

If chosen as national Youth of the Year, Parker wrote: “I want to make a difference and have an impact on bullying for all youth. I think my purpose in life is to be a voice. I want to speak for others and for what is right.”

Boys & Girls Clubs serve more than 1,100 young people annually at sites in Covington, Gretna, New Orleans and Slidell. Clubs are open during the after-school hours and in the summer to children and teens between the ages of 6 and 18. Membership dues are kept low to ensure that all young people can afford to participate.