Stars, lawmakers honor Boys and Girls Club's Youth of the Year

Stars and lawmakers teamed up Tuesday night to support the Boys and Girls Club of America and celebrate the group's annual Youth of the Year Awards gala.

Attendees included famous Boys and Girls Club alumni, including the American Ballet Theatre's Misty Copeland and NFL Hall of Famer Andre Reed, along with Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDems fight to protect Mueller amid Rosenstein rumors Jordan wants Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee Kamala Harris calls for Senate to protect Mueller probe as Rosenstein faces potential dismissal MORE (R-Wis.), House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).


All six of the 2016 Youth of the Year finalists were female: Jocelyn Woods, Alexia Lewis, Melanie Webster, Raliyah Dawson, Arianna Skinner and Abria Franklin.

They were recognized from among the 4 million members of the Boys and Girls Club for "overcoming obstacles and reaching their full potential with strong character, academic success, healthy lifestyles and contributing to their communities," according to a statement.

Woods, the winner of the Youth of the Year award, received thousands of dollars in college scholarships and a new Toyota Corolla. She studies journalism at the University of Southern California.

The attendees hailed the finalists and spoke of the importance of ensuring equal opportunity for young women.

“It’s our time,” Copeland said. “I think it’s so empowering and it says so much about America and where we are today that women are given equal opportunities and that we’re fighting for that and that we have women that are setting examples.”

Copeland also hailed Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2016 pollsters erred by not weighing education on state level, says political analyst Could President Trump's talk of a 'red wave' cause his supporters to stay home in midterms? Dem group targets Trump in M voter registration campaign: report MORE (D), the first major-party female presidential candidate in U.S. history, calling her bid a significant milestone.

“Even if she doesn’t win, I think it says so much for where we’re going and our future. And it’s so incredible and empowering and such a representation of what tonight is with these six women that are up here on this stage and that hopefully will be in her shoes one day,” Copeland said.

Grammy-award winning singer Ashanti, also a Boys and Girls Club alum, said Clinton's candidacy shows young girls that women can be in power.

“The barriers are definitely being broken in more ways than one,” Ashanti said. “As a young woman, I think it’s really important to see that women can take control and be in power.”

Model Damaris Lewis said the next president “needs to focus on the next generation," and said she believes Clinton will do that.