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The City Journals

Boys & Girls Club honors teen who motivates others

Apr 05, 2021 11:43AM ● By Sarah Morton Taggart

Lindsey Garcia is the Midvale Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year for 2021. (Photo courtesy Midvale Boys & Girls Club)

By Sarah Morton Taggart | [email protected]

For the 2021 Youth of the Year, the Midvale Boys & Girls Club chose Lindsey Garcia, a teen who has worked hard to improve academically since the pandemic began.

“When quarantine first started, my grades were really bad,” Garcia said. “I had all F’s and D’s, some C’s. Now I get A’s, sometimes B’s and C’s. There was so much time on my hands that I could just do it. I decided that I could just do (the work) now instead of doing it later. Just being able to accomplish it really made me feel better about myself.”

Garcia completed ninth grade and started her sophomore year at Hillcrest High School during the pandemic. 

“It was kind of scary to go back to school,” Garcia said. “I was used to being home, being online. Getting back was like my first day of school all over again. It was really hard at the beginning, but I’ve been able to keep up good habits.”

Garcia’s favorite subject is math, something she didn’t do well in before but now is able to follow along and understand.

“She’s grown a lot,” said Laura Novakovich, the teen director at the Midvale Club. “She’s very dedicated and she’s doing a lot to improve her grades. She’s very resilient and family-focused.”

Garcia began attending the Boys & Girls Club as a 10-year-old when she moved to Midvale from Provo.

“I just remember meeting new people, like being really nervous and just really shy,” Garcia said. “Then I got comfortable with everything around here and I just got to be myself.”

Garcia is still friends with some of the youth she met that first day at the Club, located at 7631 Chapel St. After six years, Garcia is now the one to greet new members. 

“She’s one of my girls that can talk to anyone,” Novakovich said. “Super friendly, but respectful. She can light up a room.”

For Garcia, one of the best parts of being a Club Kid is trying out new activities. “I played volleyball here for the first time,” Garcia said. “I thought it was really fun and I’m planning on trying out for the volleyball team at my high school.”

After graduating, Garcia hopes to attend Utah Valley University and become a veterinarian or police officer. She says her father has been a big influence in her life. “He’s always taught me if you want to do it, focus on it until you accomplish it.”

When she arrives at the Club each day, Garcia most looks forward to seeing all the people. Her younger brother also participates in the Club. “He follows me for inspiration,” Garcia said. “He’s always looking for advice and always tells me everything.”

When asked why she thinks she was chosen to be the Midvale Club’s Youth of the Year, Garcia said it was probably the way she motivates others and accomplishes what she focuses on. 

Garcia was honored during a virtual event hosted by Thurl Bailey on Feb. 18. She spoke about how her Club has helped her develop both personally and academically, especially during the past difficult year. Youth from the Sugar House, Miller Family (Murray) and Tooele Clubs were also honored and Frank Layden was inducted to the Utah Boys & Girls Clubs and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame.

“It felt pretty good,” Garcia said. “Pretty nerve-wracking, but it felt really good to just be a part of it.”