2020 Youth of the Year for The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Charlotte

The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Charlotte announced the winner of its 2019-20 Youth of the Year competition – Carly Rauch. Rauch is a senior at Weddington High School and a member and junior staffer/mentor at the Monroe Boys & Girls Club.

The Youth of the Year program is Boys & Girls Clubs of American’s premier recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of its Club members. The local organization’s winner will go on to compete in the state competition, and if selected, regional and national competitions.

“Carly exemplifies the values we look for in our Youth of the Year. She’s a service-minded leader, she excels in the classroom and promotes a healthy lifestyle,” said David McQueen, area director of the Boys & Girls Clubs in Union County. “But, what impresses me most is how committed she is in serving as a mentor for the younger members at the Club. She pours into their lives and spreads kindness in our community. She’s an example for all of us.”

Proof of her great work came this past holiday season, as Rauch organized “Hope for the Holidays” – an event that provided Christmas gifts for all of the members of the Monroe Club.

“It’s important to do things like this because many of us are so fortunate,” she said. “I know many Boys & Girls Club members in our community come from difficult circumstances, so it’s an honor to be able to provide some gifts for them at Christmas.”

Being a member herself, Rauch knows the Monroe Club members personally and interacts with them regularly.

“I go to the Club because I want to be as much of a blessing to the kids as they are to me,” she said. “I have learned so much for the kids and their positive attitudes, despite the circumstances they might be in.”

Upon graduating, Rauch plans to attend the University of North Carolina or North Carolina State University and pursue a career in physical therapy. See below for more biographical information about Rauch.

2019-20 Youth of the Year Carly Rauch (bio)

Carly Rauch is a senior at Weddington High School and a member of the Monroe Boys & Girls Club. Her path to the Club was different than most. A personally devastating setback gave her the gift of time, and she found an outlet for using it productively at the Boys & Girls Club.

From the age of 5, Rauch was a competitive dancer. The life of an elite-level dancer is grueling. In addition to the physical fitness requirements, dancers can spend more than 20 hours a week in the studio working on conditioning, technique and choreography. After years of following her dream to dance, Rauch received devastating news during the dance season of her sophomore year: pain she was experiencing in her foot would require surgery and could potentially end her competitive dancer career.

A lot can be said about a person based on how they handle adversity. Instead of wallowing in her on sorrow, Rauch made the best of her time. At only 15 years of age, she took on the role of coaching the middle school dance team, preparing choreography, setting schedules and routines, mentoring a new crop of young dancers. During that time, she also accepted an invitation from a close friend to go to the Boys & Girls Club, a decision that would forever change her life.

“When I walked in the door and saw the kids, I knew instantly that this was something I would want to become more involved with,” she said. “From that day, I started going to the Club once a week, which turned into every other day, and then every day!”

At Weddington High School, Rauch serves in many leadership roles, one of which is with the Mentoring Club. Through her involvement, Rauch has been able to serve as a mentor to many Boys & Girls Club members. In addition, she’s involved her classmates in organizing a Christmas event that provides gifts to all of the Club members.

In the time since her injury, her foot has regained strength, giving her a chance at returning to competitive dance.

“Returning would take up so much of my time that I would have to give up other things that mean so much to me,” she said. “While it hurt tremendously to give up competitive dance, that void in my life was filled with new blessings that I am extremely thankful for.”

Upon graduating, Rauch plans to attend the University of North Carolina or North Carolina State University and pursue a career in physical therapy. She’s also passionate about removing the stigma surround mental health issues. Her dream is to help others live a healthy lifestyle – physically and mentally. It’s a dream she’s already began fulfilling at the Boys & Girls Club.

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