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Youths honored for service

Three young people were honored as Youths of the Year on Jan. 21 by the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach during the club’s Annual Awards Ceremony at the Artists Theatre. Boys & Girls Club staff honored more than 80 young people from Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, and the surrounding communities for their outstanding citizenship and personal accomplishments in 2008.

The Youths of the Year were Michaela Bryant, a member of the Main Branch; Kelsey Laroche, who belongs to the Teen Center; and Daylan Handel of the TLC Branch.

Nearly 300 parents, children and board members enjoyed the celebration. Volunteer efforts of National Charity League, the 100 Women for Education and the staff at Laguna Beach High School contributed to a memorable evening.

?Michaela Bryant, 2008 Main Branch Youth of the Year for 6- to 12-year-olds, has been a member since 2004. Michaela participates in all program areas from fine arts and photo club in the art room to gym superstars and girls basketball in the gym. She also diligently completes her homework in Power Hour and is competitive in the games room. Michaela works hard in the Club Monitors program and is an asset to the Recycling Club. She was honored as a great role model for younger members and for being positive and helpful in all areas of the club.


?Kelsey Laroche, 2008 Teen Youth of the Year, has been a member since 2001. She is a born leader, with the ability to rally other teens. Kelsey is the current Keystone Club president and will be heading to Atlanta for the Keystone Conference in April.

?Dylan Handel, 2008 TLC Branch Youth of the Year, has shown leadership by helping run activities for members, tutoring during Power Hour, and coaching during SPARK activities.

For more information about the club, visit



Challenge grant announced

Since the club relies on donations to pay most of its costs, Executive Director Pamela Estes announced that members of the board have put together a $60,000 Challenge Grant where donations until April 30 will be matched dollar for dollar.

“We receive only 25% of our cost of operations from members dues and fees and we rely upon the goodness of the community to donate the rest each year. With a budget of about $1.5 million annually, that means we need to raise over $1.1 million each year from our generous donors," Estes said.

Donations toward the Challenge Grant may be made by mailing checks to the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, 1085 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 or by donating at Those wishing to make a credit card donation directly may call Bali Thorn at (949) 494-2535, ext. 102.