ATLANTA, June 22, 2012 – On Thursday evening, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) named Tyler Merriweather, 18, a five-year member of Boys & Girls Clubs of West Alabama, the 2012-13 Southeast Region Youth of the Year. He receives a total of $11,000 in college scholarships from the Youth of the Year program’s sponsor Tupperware Brands Corporation. Merriweather was chosen from 10 candidates within BGCA’s Southeast region and will compete for the national title in Washington, D.C., in September.
Merriweather and his fellow Youth of the Year candidates were honored at BGCA’s Annual Southeast Region Youth of the Year Celebration dinner held in Atlanta last evening. Prior to the event, the finalists were treated to a three-day experience in Atlanta, which included career experiences at local companies and a community service project where they assembled and distributed hygiene kits for the homeless. Each finalist received a $1,000 college scholarship from Tupperware and $400 in gift cards from jcpenney. As the regional winner, Merriweather also received an additional $500 jcpenney gift card to help prepare his wardrobe for the National Youth of the Year competition.
BGCA's Youth of the Year recognition is the highest honor a Club member can achieve. The Youth of the Year program, founded in 1947, celebrates youth who have overcome enormous odds and demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments. These deserving young people are recognized for service to their Club and community, academic performance and contributions to their family.
For the past five years, the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Alabama has been a sanctuary for Merriweather. Raised by a single mother, Merriweather has taken on many of the responsibilities of maintaining his household – including caring for a sister with medical challenges. The time he spends at the Club has helped him develop into a caring and driven young man.
Merriweather is committed to attracting more teen members to his Club and has worked with the staff to implement programs and activities for older youth. He is an active participant in several Club programs including Passport to Manhood, which promotes and encourages responsibility in Club boys; and SMART Moves, a prevention and education program that promotes healthy choices. Additionally, Merriweather has represented his community’s teens as a presenter before the county commission, city council and school board.
Merriweather served in many leadership capacities at Holt High School – including senior class president, president of the Future Business Leaders of America, vice president of the BETA Club and president of the PRIDE Drug Awareness Program. To encourage student awareness about environmental issues, Merriweather led his school’s Recycling Day, which resulted in a record number of cans and cardboard collected. An honor student, Merriweather recently graduated with a 3.9 grade point average and will attend the University of Alabama to study accounting.
As the Southeast Region Youth of the Year, Merriweather and four other regional winners will have a chance to meet with President Barack H. Obama in the White House Oval Office in September. If named the 2012-13 National Youth of the Year, he will receive an additional $50,000 scholarship from The Rick and Susan Goings Foundation.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of AmericaFor more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, nearly 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs serve some 4 million children and teens through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native American lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. Clubs provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at bgca.org/facebook and bgca.org/twitter.
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