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Renee Parsons Girls Leadership Award video screen capture

A Leadership Award for Young Women

Let’s start 2021 off with kindness.

I am a firm believer that opportunity is a critical part of success. This is why over the past four years I have sought the support and guidance of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley, BGCAZ, to help select young women to receive the Renee Parsons Girls Leadership Award. Their Phoenix team is a leading voice for youth in our community, working directly with young people to build character, adopt healthier lifestyles, and achieve academic success.

With this hands-on approach, BGCAZ is able to recognize deserving, bright young women who demonstrate three fundamental leadership qualities: collaboration, assertiveness, and empathy. We are delighted that with their support we have been able to provide scholarships to four high school students.

Kaiah James celebrating Renee Parsons Girls Leadership Award

I am thrilled to announce that Kaiah James is the recipient of the 2020 Renee Parsons Girls Leadership Award. This incredible young woman has been a Boys & Girls Club member for six years and is currently a senior at University High School with a nearly perfect GPA. We are proud that our foundation was able to provide Kaiah with a new laptop and up to $80,000 to pursue her college education.

Due to the pandemic, we chose to announce this year’s winner differently than years past. The BGCAZ team members told Kaiah she was a finalist for the award and that I would be interviewing her over video chat. I learned during our wonderful conversation that Kaiah is a born leader, passionate about track and field, and admires her mother’s positive outlook and grounded advice. After about ten minutes of our conversation, I excitedly revealed that she was not actually a finalist, but rather the winner of the 2020 Renee Parsons Girls Leadership Award.

This moment is one I will cherish. To witness her reaction and meet her parents was heartwarming. To watch the full video, click here.

Inspired by the impressive list of applicants and Kaiah’s incredible achievements we, at The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, decided to provide another scholarship to an exceptional young woman. Once again with the help of BGCAZ, I met with Amaya Jones over video chat. Amaya, who is a senior at Deer Valley High School, has been a Girl Scout for ten years, and a member of the Boys & Girls Club for three years.

Amaya Jones

Amaya shared with me that she is working toward her Girl Scouts Gold Award, is inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s incomparable work, and looks forward to pursuing a career as a veterinarian. I was overjoyed to award her with the Renee Parsons Excellence Award, which includes a new laptop and up to $40,000 toward her college education.

Amaya and Kaiah are intelligent, driven, and motivated young women with bright futures ahead of them. I feel fortunate to have gotten to know them and wish them success as they move forward with their higher education and future careers.