NHS Junior Named Noblesville Boys & Girls Club 2017 Youth of the Year
Writer / Allison Yates
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
Olivia Morales may only be a junior at Noblesville High School, but she’s already found her calling — helping youth to reach their full potential. Her vision for America’s youth is one where everyone has the ability to overcome their limiting circumstances. Morales says she wants to teach children they don’t have to follow in their family’s footsteps.
She’s in the perfect place to do so. Morales has been involved in the Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville for 11 years, a place she considers a second home. Having participated in everything the club has to offer, Morales is now a staff member and was recently named the 2017 Noblesville Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year for her strong leadership skills.
Not only a high school student but also a Noblesville High School basketball player, it can be hard to fit in her work hours, but she goes whenever she can.
“The Boys & Girls Club is a great place to go,” she says.
Her mother, who works at the club, took her since she was very young. However, it wasn’t out of obligation that Morales kept coming back.
“The club accepts you for who you are,” Morales says.
It’s a judgement-free place where she, and her peers, have always had a safe space to be themselves.
It also encourages participants to do the right thing in and out of the club.
“Growing up, I’ve always had the sense of doing what’s right,” Morales says. She attributes this sense of integrity to the club.
That’s part of the reason that Morales loves working there. She gives children an example to look up to. She’s there to have fun, but she takes her job very seriously.
Morales admits that children can be a challenge. Even so, she loves them — they’re easy to connect with.
“They’re not complicated,” Morales says. “If you get through to a kid, then you’ve achieved a good day.”
With more than 200 children running in and out of the spaces Morales takes care of while on the job, she has a lot of opportunity to do so. She’s glad she’s there to be a person that kids can relax around and hang out with, much in the same way that her mentors allowed her to.
Morales says that her boss, Lauren, has always supported her. Whenever she was upset, Lauren offered to listen.
“It’s nice to have a person to talk to,” Morales says.
Now, Morales provides the same support to the younger children at the club.
It was the Boys & Girls Club that gave her a safe space, but it also exposed her to unfortunate realities. One of her favorite activities was participating in Torch Club, where she volunteered at service organizations such as Meals on Wheels and Third Phase. The experience made an impact, teaching her that there is much happening outside the club’s doors.
Morales plans on making her dedication to service a lifelong mission. In her future profession, she’ll be able to continue to work towards making her vision for America’s youth a reality. After graduating from Noblesville, she plans to attend Ball State University where she’ll study elementary education.
She says she will miss the Noblesville branch, but she’s not too worried — she’s already planning to volunteer at the Muncie Boys and Girls Club during college.