A 15-year-old Alma student who helps take care of his family has been named the Boys and Girls Club of the Alma Area youth of the year.

Cesar Davila was recently chosen by a panel of eight judges made up of Alma club board members and community leaders as the youth of the year. Davila is an Alma High School 10th grade student and football player.

Davila was chosen by the judges because of his presented speech, character and dedication to family, said Elaina Damante, Boys and Girls Club of the Alma Area executive director.

“Cesar has been coming to the club for 10 years,” Damante said. “He holds a lot of adult responsibilities; he comes to the club so he can be a kid.”

Davila sees the club as a safe space where he can make positive choices, Damante said.

“At the club, Cesar is a leader among his peers and other members, and enjoys giving back to the community,” Damante said. “He is a bright and hardworking young man and is a testament to what having positive influences in one’s life and hard work can lead to.”

Davila is a lineman for his football team and works to help support his family, Damante said.

Attending the Club and being named Youth of the Year has given Davila insight into what can be accomplished in life, he said.

“To me, being a Youth of the Year means that it doesn’t matter how you start off, or what you go through,” Davila said. “Instead, it is about how you get past struggles and the negativity and see the positive.”

Youth of the year is an honor given an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle, Damante said.

Davila was chosen from three finalists for the Club honor. The other two finalists were Hannah Myers and Geneva Brown.

Davila will be recognized at the Boys and Girls Club of the Alma Area Great Futures Gala on April 6. He also will vie for the Arkansas Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys and Girls Clubs of America on Feb. 21-22.

“We know that this is just the beginning for Cesar - he has a bright future ahead of him,” Damante said.