The Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club has chosen Leigh Ann Rossetti as their 2016 Youth of the Year (YOY), to compete against nine other young leaders from Boys & Girls Clubs across the state of Delaware. That winner will compete for the title of National Youth of the Year at the regional level in Washington D.C.
“Leigh Ann is a hidden treasure here at The Club,” said Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club Mentor Marla Smith. “She has incredible qualities. She has a resilience about her, humble and always has the initiative to help others.”
Second in her class as a senior at Milford High School (MHS), Rossetti has a 4.8 GPA, is captain of the MHS Swim Team and a member of the MHS Marching Band. During her eighth grade year, her parents divorced and created what Rossetti calls “ a long period of feeling unloved.” To break away from the feelings of loneliness, she focused on her school work and joined as a member of the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club. Her sister, who was accepted to Cornell University, an Ivy League college in New York, was a big motivator for Leigh Ann as she struggled to understand and deal with a custody battle between her parents.
“At home, my sister stood up for what she thought was right and it allowed me to see that I could stand up for myself too,” said Rossetti. “The Boys & Girls Club became a place where I could find myself and escape. After practice, I stayed here as long as I could.”
As a member of the B&G Club, Rossetti began working as a life guard at the Richard Y. Johnson Aquatics Center, home of the Milford High School Swim Team. She states that through her work at The Club, she has been exposed to leadership, strength and self-confidence and has found ways to introduce those qualities into her own life. Working with staff members, Rossetti states that she was “able to open up and believe that adults could be trusted.”
“It was a big relief to be able to talk with adults at The Club. It made me feel like I had a home,” said Rossetti. “The Club gave me a sense of security.”:
As a senior in Milford High School, she is looking at several colleges including Penn State, Syracuse and the University of Delaware. Although she excels and enjoys hard sciences, she will pursue a career in law as an attorney. She states that the Youth of the Year program has allowed her to be more confident in working through the difficult decisions ahead.
“It has sparked something in me,” said Rossetti. “I want to encourage others and let them know that we all share similar experiences and challenges but if we stay positive we can be successful.”
In April, she will compete with other YOYs from across the state of Delaware to be named the Delaware State Youth of the Year. That winner will compete for the title of National Youth of the Year at the regional level in Washington D.C. Rossetti is excited to learn from other Youth of the Year winners.
“I am excited to hear their stories and how it impacted them.” said Rossetti. “I hope their strengths can empower me to be stronger.”