Gerald Rodríguez Stuart is a hardworking, kind and sociable young man. He enjoys laughing because “the best thing God created was the ability to laugh”. It’s not hard to understand why he was chosen as the Youth of the Year 2018 in his Carolina Club, where he has been participating for eight years now.
“I started going to the Club because I needed assistance with my homework. I was not very focused on my studies. Thanks to the Club I gave it a try, I regained focus and the motivation to excel in my academic performance,” confesses the high school student.
Gerald is the type of person for which Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico was created: a young man with a lot of potential who just needed a push and the conditions to achieve their academic goals.
Everything learned during these eight years in the Club has paid off as Gerald improved his academic performance and is currently preparing to take the ASVAB and then serve in the Air Force.
His love for the Club is evident: “It is one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I have known the best of friends, the best tutors, and here I have had the best experiences.”
Gerald found refuge and motivation in the Club. If he had to say the first word that crosses his mind when thinking about the Club, it would be: “family”.
And family is a priority in Gerald’s life.
He proved himself that he can achieve what he dreams about by buying his favorite Adidas sneakers. To do so, he had to work hard for three years. His sneakers are white as clouds and always clean like a commercial airplane windshield.
“My mother did not have the money to buy those shoes for me,” Gerald said in a more empathetic than judgmental tone. He knows that it was not necessarily that his mother did not want to buy them; it’s just that she could not. The situation gave him the motivation to work hard to achieve his goal.
In Gerald you can see that the challenges we face do not defines us, but the way in which we respond to them does.
If you are young and face difficult circumstances, Gerald has a message for you: “No matter what obstacles life brings you, you can achieve what you aim for. No matter the criticism of others. You can achieve what you set out in life. You can make your dreams come true and thank God the Club motivated me to accomplish many goals, like being selected as Youth of the Year”.