Selected among several local outstanding youth, Matheus Chaves has been named Youth of the Year for the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich. On April 17, he will compete against other club members for the Connecticut Youth of the Year title and a $1,000 college scholarship from the Tupperware Brands Corporation.
"It's the highest award that one individual can win, it's character development, it's community involvement, it's giving back to the club, it's leadership ability, and Matheus stands for all of that," said Don Palmer, Program Director at the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich. "He's just a fine young man and the more you get to know him you really have an understanding of what it has meant for him to grow up at the Boys and Girls Club and now be a role model to today's youth as one of our employees."
At the age of 9 Matheus moved from Brazil to the United States where he was finally reunited with his parents. From that point on, the Boys and Girls Club played an integral part in his life.
"It was my home away from home ever since I came to the United States," said Matheus Chaves. "It was the first place I came to, even before school, since I had to get some papers all together. I have been able to come here, play so many different sports, and also master the English language. Here I always felt like I belonged, like I was welcomed, all my mentors and role models have played such an important role in my life."
During his eight years at the Club, 17 year-old Matheus has participated in a range of programs including academic tutoring, stage crew for Club theatre productions, instructor for technology programs, member of the Torch Club, Treasurer of the Keystone Club, and much more.
"The main reason I joined the Club and all these programs was so that I could give back to the ones who gave me so much and so many opportunities," said Matheus.
Matheus hopes that the award will be an inspiration for his family and serve as encouragement for his cousins to continue with their education.
"It would mean so much for my family seeing that a young individual like me succeed coming from Brazil and having to adapt to a new environment, as well as giving hope to my cousins and other family members who are just now finishing high school and seem to be settling for the high school education."
If Matheus wins at the state competition in April, he will compete for the Northeast title and ultimately the National title where he would have the opportunity to meet the President of the United States.