For immediate release March 28, 2011 SENATOR SQUADRON HONORS EDUCATIONAL ALLIANCE YOUTH WHO WON STATEWIDE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB AWARD Student Carlos Valdez Visits Albany as Candidate for Statewide "Youth of the Year" Award, and Wins! Albany, NY--State Senator Daniel Squadron honored Lower East Side teenager and Baruch Houses resident Carlos Valdez, 17 years old, on Tuesday with a visit to the floor of the State Senate and a resolution passed in recognition of his winning the statewide Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year Award. Carlos Valdez, a senior at Bard High School Early College on East Houston Street, won the Youth of the Year Award for his contributions to the community and his work to overcome adversity. Carlos is a member of the Boys and Girls Club Educational Alliance "Edgies" Clubhouse, and a participant in activities including college prep mentoring, peer tutoring, digital photography, improvisational acting and SAT prep. He is an assistant teacher at his church and a member of the youth ministry. He plans to go on to a four-year college with a major in engineering, and dreams of working one day at NASA. Senator Squadron said, "Carlos is a true Lower East Sider, and that's why it's no surprise he's New York's Youth of the Year. His experience speaks to the incredible work of the Educational Alliance--it's one more reason I am fighting to preserve funding for settlement houses on the Lower East Side and all over New York. It was great to spend time with Carlos when he visited Albany, and I look forward to continuing to follow his career as he graduates to college and beyond. For Carlos even outer space won't be a limit." Senator Squadron also noted in remarks on the floor of the Senate that the Educational Alliance "Edgies Teen Center" has produced two of the last three Youth of the Year statewide winners, and recognized Edgies Teen Center director Amarilis Perez for her work to produce an outstanding program that is a vital resource for adolescents on the Lower East Side. Carlos Valdez, winner of the New York State Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year Award, wrote in a statement, "The Boys and Girls Club means the world to me. At the clubhouse, I have gained a family that supports my dreams and helps me cope with the daily challenges I face in my community. They are there at the end of the day, to reassure me of my special purpose in this world. It is a place that has taught me that nothing in life is unachievable. " Amarilis Perez, Director of the Edgies Teen Center at Educational Alliance, said, "Carlos Valdez has been selected as New York State Youth of the Year, chosen out of 270,000 Boys & Girls Club members in NY State. This is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. The title recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as personal challenges and obstacles overcome. Carlos Valdez attends the Educational Alliance’s Boys and Girls Club and has been a catalyst for change in his community by being a youth advocate, volunteering at his local church and tutoring his peers. This June, he will be graduating from Bard High School with not only a high school diploma but an Associates of Arts college degree, completed during his four years of high school. In the Fall, Carlos will be entering college to pursue a Bachelors degree in engineering.” Martha Olson, Bard College Dean of Education Initiatives and Bard High School Early College Dean of Administration, said, "Carlos Valdez provides a wonderful example of what students from our Lower East Side neighborhood can accomplish in a challenging academic program such as Bard High School Early College when given the support they need. Carlos is on track to graduate this spring with a Bard College Associate in Arts degree as well as his high school diploma--he has worked hard and overcome many personal challenges to succeed and in doing so has become a true leader and role model for our students and community. We are very proud of him." Please see attached photo of Senator Squadron on the Senate floor with Amarilis Perez, director of the Educational Alliance "Edgies Teen Center," and Carlos Valdez, New York State Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year. Video of Senator Squadron's remarks and Carlos being recognized by the Senate is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZr-v_WmTv8.