Erin McGhee has been attending the Boys & Girls Club Carr Branch in Oakland since she was 11 years old.

In the six years that she has been a member, she has grown from a kid who was just coming after school and trying to find her way in life to a leader who has become a model for other kids to follow.

The organization has been so impressed with Erin that she was recently named the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year for Oakland.

With the award, she gets scholarship money for college and a chance to win more by competing with other youth honorees in the region and possibly in the country.

Dante Rodgers, the education director at the Carr branch, said Erin deserved the award because of how she handles home and family life with her siblings, her moral character, her commitment to the community, her service to the Boys & Girls Club, her life goals, and what she has been able to overcome.

“Since she’s the older sibling, she has to serve the role of a mother figure oftentimes because her mother and grandmother work and there is no father figure around,” Rodgers said.

As a youth leader, Erin spends every day interacting with the younger kids at the club after school and providing a good example for them.

In one of her essays she submitted for the Youth of the Year award, Erin said she tries to uphold the Boys & Girls Club’s mantra that there is no status quo at the club, only friends. She continues to be dedicated to her role because, “It’s a place to be yourself.”

Erin, 16, a junior at Unity High School, is now on her way to college, where she plans to study business management. She hopes to one day open a recreation center for youth to expose them to the visual arts.

In addition to her service at the Boys & Girls Club, Erin is an active leader with Oakland Community Organizations. She is a leader with the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center, which was founded by Rep. Barbara Lee. She is a member of First Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, she has participated in the Ceasefire night walks, and she performed a poem at OCO’s Work for All economic summit in December, which brought together organizations from throughout the East Bay to call for good jobs for excluded workers.

Let’s all give Erin McGhee a big round of applause.

Editor’s Note: This piece reflects an individual opinion and is not a reported story from Oakland Local. Oakland Local invites community residents to share their views about events and issues in Oakland. 
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