Local AYF member named Youth of the Year at Arlington Boys and Girls Club

Nora Vartanian, 2022 Arlington Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year

ARLINGTON, Mass. Nora Vartanian is celebrating an accomplishment in her local community: Youth of the Year at the Arlington Boys and Girls Club.

Vartanian, who grew up in Watertown and currently lives in Arlington, has been a member of the club since 2015. She says she is the second Armenian in the history of the Arlington organization to be recognized as Youth of the Year. 

“I feel really excited and honored,” expressed the 16-year-old during a recent interview with the Weekly. “I just felt so included when I went there as a child. When I was given the opportunity to work and when I first started working, it made me realize how much I enjoyed being a role model to the kids and how much I enjoyed seeing them look up to me and helping them through their challenges. It’s amazing to watch them reach their goals because I helped them.”

Vartanian is a lifeguard and a swim instructor at the club. She was chosen Youth of the Year by her peers, staff and young members. “I just love spending time with the kids. I love to interact with them as much as I can,” she said. 

Last month, Vartanian represented the Arlington club at the statewide competition for the Boys and Girls Club of America’s National Youth of the Year, a leadership development program designed to empower young people; one winner becomes the teen spokesperson for the entire organization. 

Though she did not advance, Vartanian said she picked up important life skills during the interview process. She submitted her first resume and cover letter and learned how to present herself with poise and confidence. “Working at the Boys and Girls Club has helped me find what I enjoy doing and who I enjoy spending my time with,” said Vartanian. “I feel like I’ve grown with my confidence, and I’ve learned leadership skills.”

Following the statewide competition, Vartanian and her parents attended a Youth of the Year celebration for all Boys and Girls Club honorees in Massachusetts at Polar Park, home of the Worcester Red Sox. “Nora, your charisma, confidence and hard work throughout this entire process has been tremendous,” read a Facebook post from the Arlington Boys and Girls Club. “You are a true role model to all Club youth.”

Vartanian is a diligent and hardworking student athlete. She just completed her sophomore year at Arlington High School, where she is a member of the Armenian Club and competes on the softball and swim teams. Vartanian also displays her leadership skills on the executive of the AYF Greater Boston “Nejdeh” Junior Chapter. This summer will be bittersweet as she registers for her final year as a camper during Camp Haiastan’s teen session. In the future, Vartanian hopes to combine her interests in science, math and biology with her passion for working with the youth. “Maybe I’ll be a science teacher,” she shared with a sense of optimism.

Leeza Arakelian

Leeza Arakelian

Assistant Editor
Leeza Arakelian is the assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly. She is a graduate of UCLA and Emerson College. Leeza has written and produced for local and network television news including Boston 25 and Al Jazeera America.
Leeza Arakelian


Assistant editor @armenianweekly, former @boston25 writer, former associate producer @AmericaTonight (AJAM), @ecjrn 2012, @ucla 2010 ([email protected])
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