Crystal Peoples-Stokes to receive Legislator of the Year Award at WNY Youth Event

Every year, nearly 17,000 young people are served by Boys & Girls Clubs in Western NY. To show their continued support in preparing today’s youth for a brighter tomorrow, the Construction Industry Education Foundation (CIEF) and Basil Family Dealerships are partnering 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, recently shared their Boys & Girls Club experience, commitment to service and community, and their leadership journey to be considered for the title of WNY Youth of the Year. Several students will receive scholarship funds generously donated by the CIEF and Basil Family Dealerships to assist with the cost of reaching their post-secondary goals in the trades or college. Local judges have reviewed applications, essays, and letters of recommendation prior to each youth’s in-person interview at the Boys & Girls Club of Elma, Marilla, & Wales.

Crystal Peoples-Stokes is set to receive the prestigious Legislator of the Year award in recognition of her exemplary advocacy work in bolstering mental health services at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western New York. Through her office’s steadfast support, the program has been able to embed licensed mental health counselors into all 12 Boys & Girls Clubs at 35 different locations throughout the region. This initiative effectively diminishes obstacles to counseling access, underscoring Peoples-Stokes’s unwavering commitment to enhancing mental wellness within the community.

The WNY Youth of the Year title will be presented by Patti Thomas, from the Thurman Thomas Family Foundation, on April 30, 2024 at 6pm during a reception celebrating the eight top high school youth, in addition to seven middle school youth.

“Backing scholarship programs like the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year Awards helps realize our mission and positively impacts the up-and-coming construction workforce,” said Jenn Van Dusen, M.S. Ed., the Construction Exchange of Buffalo & WNY NC Workforce & Education Director.

Boys & Girls Club Students:

  • Buffalo – Kylie O’Neal
  • Elma, Marilla, & Wales – Eva Messinger & Adam Kotowski
  • East Aurora – Evan Galvin & Bradley Seifert
  • Orchard Park-Boston – Elizabeth Marrero & Matthew Button
  • Depew-Lancaster – Devon Ross
  • Holland – Seth Schoenthal & Zoey Bors
  • Jamestown – Betty Tubbs
  • Niagara Falls – Georgianna Groves
  • Northtowns – Victoria Williamson & Catherine Balu
  • Rochester – Anani Holiday



  • Brenna Bauer, Buffalo Bills Manager of Community Relations
  • Mark Boyd, Chief of Staff to Hon. Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes
  • Rhonda Frederick, West Herr Automotive Group Director of Community Giving & Support
  • Jenn Van Dusen, M.S. Ed., The Construction Exchange of Buffalo & WNY NC Workforce & Education Director
  • Tracy Bradshaw, Boys & Girls Club Collaborative of WNY CEO
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