MEET Amaya Garcia White-Buffalo, or to her family and friends, Amaya GWB.
She’s the newest ambassador for the San Luis Valley, a teen wonder, a phoenix as her mother calls her, who is as confident as the bluest sky standing out on the clearest of days.
Amaya was named the Colorado Youth of the Year by Boys and Girls Clubs of Colorado, and now heads in June to the Boys & Girls Clubs Southwest Regional competition in Dallas.
She lives with her family in Antonito and is completing her junior year at Centauri High School, where she is an honors student and serves on the student council.
In 2015 she developed what she calls “Wolf Pack Unity” as a way to spread her message. She decided on “Wolf Pack Unity” as a name because “wolves are intelligent, compassionate and loyal, and they stick together and leave no wolf behind.”
As a member of Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley she used her Wolf Pack Unity message to win the local Youth of Year competition and then the state competition in Denver.
Now her message will be front and center at the Southwest Regional competition in Texas. If she wins there she will compete for the national Boys & Girls Club Youth of Year award.
“The message of Wolf Pack Unity is about character values,” said Amaya during a recent recording of The Valley Pod podcast. “To respect yourself and one another.”
She recently added into her message context around sexual predators and sexual abuse to drive home the point, “that no matter what you’re going through, and you may not have a support system within your family, but you’re always going have a support system out there.”
She said it was the support of her family and organizations like Tu Casa and Boys and Girls Clubs that helped her get through her own adversity and trauma.
Now she’s become a leader in her school, in her community, and is representing Colorado as one of its brightest young stars.
“I always tell myself ‘You can do anything. You have the strength to do whatever you want, and not to fall into being a sheep but to be a leader,’” she said.
She credits her mother, Maria, with giving her the confidence to stand on a stage and tell her story. And she ticks off family member after family member who have helped her along the way and inspired her to reach for her dreams.
“There is no pressure,” she said of the upcoming Dallas competition. “To me, pressure is just a facade, it’s fake. It’s only there if you believe that it’s there. I don’t believe in pressure. I feel like I can break down any door and I can go through any door. I can do anything.”
Listen to the full podcast episode with Amaya GWB and wish her luck as she represents the San Luis Valley and Colorado in the Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year Southwest Regional competition.
PHOTO: Amaya Garcia White-Buffalo, center, with her mom, Maria (left), and Claudia Corvera, teen director at Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley