Youth of the Year; chance of a lifetime

Rebecca Starnes

Rebecca Starnes

Hi all! I am Rebecca Starnes. I’m 18 years old and I love to write. 

I was recently awarded the title of 2019 Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region. (A lot of words, I know!) 

What this means is, I was selected by a panel of judges to represent the Colorado Springs area in the state Youth of the Year competition. In Denver, I was given the opportunity to share my story and use my experience to make an impact in the world. 

I chose to act on a topic that I have not only witnessed but had been affected by: the epidemic of declining mental health. 

The Boys & Girls Club allowed me to stand before upwards of 400 sponsors and share my story as well as discuss possible solutions, one of which began with a simple project I led at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. My team and I arranged nifty little bags with coping skills and positive messages in them. What seemed like just a notebook, pen, and a stress ball could help someone through a rough time. 

Like me, many of the teenage population are being affected by depression and an even larger amount don’t know how to help. I hope to take this little, local idea and turn it into a national movement. 

I have had the help of Comcast to further advance my message. I recently had the opportunity to interview two Olympic gold medalists who are also working toward promoting a positive mental balance. 

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando are gold-medal winning, female hockey players. The twins have faced the adversity of being female athletes in what could appear to be an untraditional setting for a woman. They not only shot two of the game-winning Olympic goals that clinched the 2018 gold for Team USA, they demolished gender roles in sports.

I got to pick their brains about what they have branded the “know your value” campaign. They encourage others to defy the status quo in hopes of inspiring a future without the restrictions of being told that you cannot reach your dreams. 

So there’s my section on who I am, but how did I get here? Well that panel of judges I talked about earlier included Southeast Express Editor Ms. Regan Foster. In reading over my application for Youth of the Year, she appreciated the way I wrote and made a follow-up meeting, so here I am! 

I am a young, budding journalist who was given the most amazing opportunity to work with the coolest people. From the Youth of the Year honor came the next step on my career path. 

From here, I plan to head to Pikes Peak Community College. As I make my journey through college I hope to continue to write for the paper about this exciting transition. If you or your child have questions about college that you would like me to answer, please email lifestyle@southeastexpress.org, and I’ll see what I can do.

Rebecca Starnes is the current Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pikes Peak Region Youth of the Year. The 18-year-old plans to study journalism in college and hopes to someday work overseas for a newspaper. She is a graduate of the class of 2019 who plans to enroll at Pikes Peak Community College this year.

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