Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley Reveals the Renee Parsons Girls Leadership & Excellence Award Winners.
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley (BGCAZ) has announced the fifth annual Renee Parsons Girls Leadership Award. Established by businesswoman and philanthropist, Renee Parsons, the award honors girls who have showcased three fundamental leadership qualities – collaboration, assertiveness and empathy – and provides the awardee the opportunity to be granted up to $80,000 of scholarship funding over four years as well as a new laptop.
Parsons surprised the 2022 honoree, Jayna Shafer, with the award via a Zoom call. During the meeting, Shafer was unaware she had already been selected as this year’s recipient and, instead, was prepared for a candidate interview with Parsons. The announcement was a wonderful shock for both Shafer and her mother who accompanied her on the call. The video can be viewed here.
“So much of what these young women are learning and accomplishing at the Boys & Girls Club are skills that I value in my own life and career,” said Parsons, Co-Founder of The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation and President and Executive Creative Director of PXG Apparel. “Jayna’s character, drive and ambition stood out right away and I know she will go on to do great things and inspire others to do the same.”
Shafer is a dedicated student, works 30 hours per week, tutors fellow BGCAZ members in math and science and is an excellent role model to her younger siblings. Shafer plans to pursue a degree in Information Technology and Software Engineering. While the number of women in STEM is growing, it is wonderful to see more young women enter the field. After college she would like to join the Navy to further her career.
“I just want her to go as far as she can and reach her dreams,” said Shafer’s mother, Jennifer. “We are so proud of her.”
While the Foundation serves a variety of youth-related causes, Parsons has personally placed a large emphasis on supporting young women and improving their access to quality education. It is because of this passion that a secondary award was created in 2021, the Renee Parsons Excellence Award. Jessica Davis was named this year’s recipient of the Excellence Award and presented up to $40,000 of scholarship funding over four years along with a new laptop.
Davis is a longstanding member of BGCAZ and caught the attention of Parsons through her dedicated volunteerism, compassion and leadership skills – becoming a mentor for many club members, serving as vice president and treasurer on numerous club committees and striving as a hardworking teammate on the boy’s football team.
For more than 75 years, BGCAZ has been creating equity and hope for youth through academic, social and workforce programming. A large focus is centered on the organization’s four priority outcomes: Academic Success; Good Character & Leadership; Healthy Lifestyles & Career Pathways; and Workforce Readiness. Through these award-winning programs, BGCAZ has been able to reach 13,000+ youth across the Valley. To learn more about BGCAZ, and its impact, please visit bgcaz.org.