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Cool Kid

Multilinguist Danny Villalobos

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12/01/2016 - By Neva Bodin

Catching the energy and enthusiasm seventeen-year-old Danny Villalobos has for learning and life is easy as he shares his future goals. He has a passion for languages and aspires to be an interpreter. Currently he speaks six languages: Spanish, English, French, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Portuguese.

Already fluent in Spanish and English, he began teaching himself Japanese in fifth grade, then took three years of Japanese at Kelly Walsh High School (KWHS). He traveled to Japan with the Japanese high school class in 2015 and the Boys and Girls Club of Central Wyoming (BGCCW) funded his trip.

He self-taught Mandarin Chinese for one and a half years, then studied it a year at KWHS. He is now taking Russian at Casper College and plans to study French next semester. He has 20 college credits.

Danny, born in California, moved to Casper at age two with his family. His mother heard about Casper's Boys and Girls Club and wanted him to attend.

"I was forced to go there. I didn't want to!" Danny talked about his initial reaction to BGCCW where he has been a member for nine and a half years. In 2015 he was named the Club's local Youth of the Year and State Youth of the Year.

"At first I didn't want to [attend the club] because I was a very shy kid. The more I started going, the more that I wanted to and didn't want to leave," he said. "They help out so much and care for you. They try to help you improve your goals."

As local Youth of the Year, Danny was recognized for service to the club, his community and family, and for his academic success and strong moral character. He wrote eight essays, an acceptance speech, and was interviewed by judges. He was awarded $1250.

Through BGCCW, Danny said, "I've helped Casper Humane Society walk dogs and feed them, handed out candy in the annual parade, washed cars, and raked leaves for people. At Christmas I helped make homemade Christmas ornaments." (Presented to residents at an assisted living facility.) "That warmed my heart," he said. At another facility he conversed and played games with residents. "It was great."

As state-level winner, he was awarded $5000 and a full-ride scholarship to the University of Wyoming. He also attended an Advanced Leaders Institute in Atlanta, Georgia.

"It opened doors for me, for my future…for using my skills…for opportunities to improve this world. I love helping people. I don't want a lot of chaos. I don't want to live in that world (chaotic), or my family, my children or my future grandchildren. There are so many solutions that are possible," explained Danny.

For relaxation, Danny hangs out with friends, goes hiking and camping, and enjoys music and movies in different languages. He likes drawing people and cartoons using pencil, charcoal, and acrylics.

Currently, Danny works six days a week at the mall, to help make his car payments and for a trip to visit friends in Brazil next summer, after which he will "get ready for college."

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