2023 WNY Youth of the Year Announced

May 19th, 2023

Nearly 17,000 young people are served by Boys & Girls Clubs in Western NY every year. To show their continued support in preparing today’s youth for a brighter tomorrow, the Construction Industry Education Foundation (CIEF) partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs Collaborative of Western NY by sponsoring the Youth of the Year program.

Since 1947, Youth of the Year, Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s legacy leadership program, has recognized and celebrated the extraordinary achievements of Club teens. Through this program, youth gain knowledge and skills in self-leadership, leadership with others, and leadership in the community – skills they need for success in 21st-century life, work, and educational settings.

Eight extraordinary youth, from across WNY, shared their Boys & Girls Club experience, commitment to service and community, and their leadership journey to be considered for the title WNY Youth of the Year. Additionally, three top students were chosen to receive scholarship funds generously donated by the CIEF to assist with the cost of reaching their post-secondary goals in the trades or college. Local judges reviewed applications, essays, and letters of recommendation prior to each youths in-person interview.

The WNY Youth of the Year title was presented by Patrick Hammer, WGRZ Channel 2 Meteorologist, on May 8, 2023, during a reception celebrating the eight top youth.

Boys & Girls Club Students:

• Elma, Marilla, & Wales- Sienna Rowley

• East Aurora- Natalie Burke

• Orchard Park- Quinn McGowan

• Depew-Lancaster- Branden Purpura

• Holland- Anna Tavernier

• Jamestown- Anthony Phanco

• Northtowns- Katelyn Becker

• Rochester- Joshua Banda


• Blythe T. Merrill, The John R. Oishei Foundation Executive Vice President

• Jenn Van Dusen, M.S. Ed. The Construction Exchange of Buffalo & WNY NC Workforce & Education


• Hon. Jim Malczewski, Erie County District 10 Legislator

• Tracy Bradshaw. The Boys & Girls Club Collaborative of WNY CEO