SIERRA VISTA — The Boys & Girls Club of Sierra Vista has something new to add to its list of accolades.
Two of Sierra Vista’s members, Ilonie Rascon, 9, and Gigi King, 11, won first and second place respectively in a Kids Foot Locker challenge. The “In My Shoes” is a national competition that drew submissions from Clubs across the country.
“Having both the first and second place winners was a huge honor for our club,” said Detric Miles, Sierra Vista Clubhouse Director. “We are very proud of Ilonie and Gigi. This spotlights the kinds of amazing kids we have in our program.”
On Monday, the two were recognized in a special celebration at the club, where they were visited by Tyree Dillihay, a feature film director at Sony Pictures Animation out of Los Angeles who presented them with their awards and shared drawing tips with them.
“These are great, well-behaved kids with very bright futures,” said Dillihay, who is going to be drawing caricatures of Rascon and King for a Kids Foot Locker comic that will appear on his Instagram account, which has more than 250,000 followers.
“When I work with them, and see their talents, I see myself when I was their age,” he said.
When asked how they felt about being a cartoon character, King was exuberant.
“I think it’s awesome!” he exclaimed. “I can’t believe that many people are going to see us in an Instagram cartoon.”
As Rascon watched Dillihay draw a sample cartoon of the two of them, she gave the sketch her stamp of approval.
“It looks just like us,” she laughed. “He’s really good.”
Keirston Stepp, director of account relationships for Boys & Girls Club of America, from Atlanta, Georgia also attended Monday’s celebration and talked about the partnership with Foot Locker.
“Club members from across the country are invited to participate by sharing photos and videos that highlight things they like to do while spending time at their club,” she said.
The submissions came through Stepp’s office where they were reviewed and narrowed down to 20 finalists, then sent to Kids Foot Locker in New York for a final judging.
“Both of the submissions from Sierra Vista were amazing,” Stepp said. “Ilonie submitted a video that really showcased her passions and her love for the Boys & Girls Club. Gigi sent a photo of himself with artwork that he created, and his fun, outgoing personality just shines right through that photo.”
Stepp said it was unique to have both winners from the same club, but felt both were very deserving of the recognition.
Last year’s first place winner was from a club out of Tucson, with the second place winner from Arlington, Texas.
Rascon and King received shoes and apparel for their win and all of the members of their club got Kids Foot Locker T-shirts. In addition, the Sierra Vista Boys & Girls Club recieved $15,000 in prize money from the Kids Foot Locker Foundation.
“I am incredibly proud of our kids,” said Jay Hamwright, the Club’s chief professional officer. “I want to thank Kids Foot Locker and the Boys & Girls Club of America for recognizing our club and our outstanding youth on a national stage. This is a real honor for our club, and the $15,000 in prize money will go a long way in giving kids great futures.”