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With an air of confidence as big as his lion’s mane of curls Thursday night, Sergio Maciel embraced the crowd gathered at the Opera House and gave insight on how the Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club has impacted his young life.
The 15-year-old Youth of the Year spoke about improving himself, learning about diversity and life lessons — like how people are more alike than different.
“We all dream. We all have some type of story,” he began. “We all want to be at peace. We all want to be recognized. We all want to be happy.”
The club, he said, gave him the opportunity to explore himself, others, the community and the world.
Recently, he was able to indulge his love of engineering and, with an array of cardboard boxes, shared it with youth throughout the community. As well, his new skills helped him secure the post of president of the Keystone Club and be part of the Youth Summit Committee by way of Will C. Wood’s Interact Club.
“The Boys & Girls Club changed my life,” he said.
The teen’s eloquent testimony paved the way for David Esparza’s state of the club address at the club’s annual Raise Your Glass event.
Esparza, president of the club’s board, expressed pride in Sergio and the club, as well.
For 2017, he shared numerous goals the club hopes to achieve.
Among them:
• Continuing to grow the board, from 10 members to 15, and prospering as an organization.
“We want to make the board stronger,” he said.
• Continuing training and educating the board to make them the best they can be.
•Begin a feasibility study regarding the renovation of the club’s Trower Center headquarters or building a new one and also looking at developing a capital campaign to fund either.
“It’s old, it has architectural issues,” he said, citing floor and roof issues. The board is now working with the city on the matter. Within the next three to five years, he said, there will be movement toward a build or a rehabilitation.
Esparza thanked attendees for their support and emphasized the need for continued involvement.
“You’re all here for similar reasons,” he said. “We understand the importance of our youth.”
Anna Eaton, the club’s executive director, talked about improvements regarding providing youth with the “optimal club experience.”

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