Selected among several local outstanding youth, Robert Miller was recognized as the 2017 Western New York Youth of the Year and ended up taking home fourth place in the New York State level of the competition. Robert also received a $2,500 scholarship.

Robert also participated in Culinary Camp through the Club at the New York Wine & Culinary Center (NYWCC). Upon graduating from the program in the summer of 2017, Robert was recognized by the NYWCC with the Seedling Scholarship. 

Robert, a senior at the Rochester Academy Charter School, credits the Boys & Girls Clubs of Rochester for helping him grow into who he is today. His leadership skills, good grades and well-rounded personality, have earned him the Youth of the Year title at Boys & Girls Clubs of Rochester.

Youth of the Year has been Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club members. Each year, one exceptional Club member is selected to be the National Youth of the Year who serves as both an exemplary ambassador for Boys & Girls Clubs youth and is a voice for youth across the nation. 

Robert joined the Boys & Girls Clubs of Rochester in 2012 after his friends told him about the different programs they were enjoying as members.

“I needed a place to go after school and it was close to home, affordable and provided a lot of structure and development programs kids need as they’re growing up,” said Robert. “The staff feel like a second family. They’re always checking in and showing they care.”

One of the programs Robert found most beneficial was homework help. He would come to the Club and go right to the homework room. Mr. Smith, the Club’s education coordinator, not only helped Robert with his studies, but he looked to him as a life mentor as well.

“Mr. Smith continues to help me make sure I am prepared for my future in college and my career and gives me great advice on life and conflict resolution.”

When Robert wasn’t busy working on his school work, one could find him honing his skills on the basketball court or in the Sweet Dancerz’ dance studio. Basketball and hip-hop dance have always been passions of Roberts.

Robert feels empowered and free on the basketball court and dance floor. The activities give him ownership, self-pride, and allow his creativity and different talents to shine.

One of Robert’s other great passions is fashion. Bullied for some of the things he chose to wear in school, Robert decided to take ownership of his style and be proud of what made him unique. As part of his Youth of the Year responsibilities, Robert has to create and execute a project that exemplifies his personal brand. Robert’s project centers around creating and producing affordable bowties that young men can wear in a professional setting to help them on the path to success.

Robert looks forward to attending Buffalo State University in the fall for fashion merchandising. 

“I am proud to be chosen as the 2017 Youth of the Year and to have gotten so far in the WNY and NYS competition. It is an honor to represent our Rochester Club,” said Robert. “It means a lot to be given this opportunity and I hope to set an example and make them proud.”

Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year recognition program is presented by Disney, who has supported BGCA for more than 50 years, empowering young people to reach their full potential and providing youth with access to the tools they need to build the great futures they imagine. Toyota, the Signature Sponsor of Youth of the Year, is committed to helping improve the quality of life in our communities, and has demonstrated a strong commitment to ensuring youth have access to a quality education. Additional support is provided by University of Phoenix, a national education partner that has joined with BGCA to impact academic success among youth across the country, and the Taco Bell Foundation, BGCA’s premier partner for teen empowerment.