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JP Cahill feels that his past three years at the Boys & Girls Club McKee Branch have shaped him into the person he is today, a person who has the characteristics to be named the club’s Youth of the Year.

Cahill only heard of the competition when staff members approached him about throwing his hat into the ring.

“Jarrin (Rozenblad, the teen specialist) pulled me into his office one day and told me about the Youth of the Year contest,” Cahill said. “He said I should enter because he thought I have the qualities to win.”

The qualities that Rozenblad saw in Cahill were his outgoingness and social confidence.

“He said that I am really good at talking with people,” Cahill said. “I can start a conversation with anyone and also I am persuasive.”

As persuasive as he can be, Cahill still needed to do some additional work to become Youth of the Year.

“I had to write three essays about different subjects,” Cahill said. “Then I had to give a speech that was three minutes long. Every Wednesday I would go to seminars to work on the speech or my papers.”

The first essay he wrote dealt with the impact the Boys & Girls Club has made on him. For Cahill, that was easy to write about.

“The club is a great place to go and spend time at,” Cahill said. “It has been a huge help for me to for become who I am today because, before, I was super quiet and reserved, but then my true self came out as I started going to the club.”

The second essay that Cahill wrote dealt with what he considers his personal brand to be.

“My personal brand is bubble popping, because I was quiet and reserved but my bubble popped and now I am my true self,” Cahill said. “So I like ‘popping other people’s bubbles’ to help them become their true self.”

Finally, Cahill’s third essay dealt with a change he would make for America’s youth and, for the bubble-popping Cahill, his change is very in character.

“My goal would be to get groups or cliques of students together,” Cahill said. “Most people just stay with a certain friend group every day, but I want to try a day each month where you sit with a different group at lunch. I think it is really important to get out there and have different experiences.”

Cahill now advances to the regional level in the Youth of the Year competition, which will take place early next year.