In 2015 The Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club chose Xitlali Roman Campos as their Youth of the Year, to compete against nine other young leaders from Boys & Girls Clubs across the state of Delaware. In April, she was named the Delaware State Youth of the Year and will now compete for the title of National Youth of the Year at the regional level as she travels to Washington D.C.
“Xitlali makes a difference in everything she does. Here at the Club she works with some of our youngest children. She does an awesome job motivating them to finish their homework and take on new challenges,” said Director of the Milford Boys & Girls Club, Tod Van Eyken. “Her work at school and at the Club have caused her self-confidence to grow as she realizes that she has something positive to offer and that in fact the younger children she works with, and many of her peers as well, see her as a role model. We are all extremely proud of her and we know that with her passion and strong work ethic she will achieve her dream of saving lives by becoming a pediatric oncologist.”
Moving to the United States from Mexico as a young child, Xitlali had no knowledge of the language of her new home and adjusting to school was not an easy fit. Although her academics had always been the best, she struggled with the language barrier. The Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club did not let her fall as she was placed in the ESL, English as a Second Language, programs in both her school and at the Club. A senior at Milford High School, Xitlali earned a spot in honor classes and advanced placement classes. She carried the habits learned at the Club and maintained good work habits, which led her to excel in all of her classes. As a result of her dedication, Xitlali rose to become fourth in her senior class ranking this year.
The Club also helped her overcome personal obstacles as it introduced her to the game of basketball. “I was introduced to basketball and it soon became my escape as well as my connection to everyone around me,” said Xitlali. “I began to make friends through basketball and soon was a lot more social. Basketball also became a crucial part of my life; I became ‘Cee,the tall, Mexican, basketball superstar’.” As I became more comfortable in my own skin, I was able to excel in other aspects of my life.” A leader of the Milford Lady Bucs Basketball team, she became captain as the team posted an impressive 15-5 season.
Xitlali volunteered her time to the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club team helping with events such as Kids Fest and enrichment activities including the Teen Titan program which provides a safe environment for teenagers to have fun on Friday nights at the Milford Boys & Girls Club. She now works at the club assisting staff and club kids on a daily basis. “I am in hopes of having the pleasure of helping the youth at the club begin on a great journey that will have an amazing outcome just like mine,” she said. ‘I am grateful for every experience that has guided me on to the right path thanks to the Boys and Girls Club.”
She believes that a huge obstacle for children today is themselves, doubting the simple fact that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. She wants to show each of them that they can become the person they desire to be, not the person that society believes they should be. She states that the obstacle is the pessimist who places those traces of doubt in our youth, causing them to become content with ordinary when in reality they should strive for that little extra that makes them extraordinary.
“Unfortunately, our youth has become complacent with being average and settling for less than their best. This is due, in part, to the negativity of others and the constant burden of the youth doubting the abilities of one another” Xitlali said. “This, then, begins to become a reality and our youth start to believe in this. As a result, the drive for success begins to dwindle until they accept average or, in the worst scenarios, give up. For me, my passion is derived from seeing the struggle that my family has gone through. It makes me want to make our situation that much better. I strive for the day when I can offer my mother what she has worked years to try to accomplish for us, and to offer my siblings the guidance they need to build their own legacy.”
Once Xitlali graduates from high school, she plans to attend Oklahoma University . Her ultimate goal and purpose is to become a Pediatric Oncologist. “I want to be able to change the world, and I will accomplish this one person and one patient at a time,” she said. “I have learned that no obstacle is ever too big: there is always a possible way to overcome that obstacle; someone has already done it, and if someone has not, then it is someone’s turn to shine and be the first.”