I’m so thankful for the Club every day, but especially now.
If you’d told me seven years ago that I would one day receive the Youth of the Year award for my town, I’d say you were talking to the wrong girl.
Public speaking? No thank you. Someone calling me inspirational? Not likely.
Seven years ago, I was quiet. I did not know how to talk to my peers, and I definitely wasn’t about to speak to a crowd full of strangers. I did not have many friends, and most of the time I felt invisible.
So, what changed? I walked into the Boys & Girls Club of Albany in Georgia.
The Club has helped me understand who I am and what I want. It has taught me how to achieve my dreams and never give up. I was just a little kid when I walked through those doors, but now I am a young woman with big plans. I want to be a graphic designer or a science teacher — or both at the same time!
A key part of my future success will be continuing my education after high school. I have already received a $1,500 scholarship that will help me with college, and when it comes time to look at schools, the Club puts on virtual college tours and college fairs. I would not even be dreaming of college if the Club hadn’t helped me with questions about homework and motivated me to strive for good grades.
The world is changing rapidly, and the challenges of living through these historic moments of racial and social injustice, COVID-19 and economic uncertainty could be enough to discourage just about anyone. I’m so glad I have the Club to turn to for understanding and answers and a place to talk about everything we’re facing. I mean, where else can you go to get reliable information about preventing COVID-19 AND have honest conversations about what it means to be an African American? I’m so thankful for the Club every day, but especially now.
The truth is our country can learn a lot from Boys & Girls Clubs. No matter who you are, where you come from or the color of your skin, everybody is treated the same here. Everyone has the same potential to be a leader, and everyone has the same responsibilities to live up to it. At the Club, I have learned both our history and how to write our futures, to stand up for my rights and what I believe in. To push myself further than I thought I could go.
So, ask me again: Can I see myself as the Youth of the Year. Absolutely! Am I inspiring? You bet! And it is all thanks to Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany.
Give More Girls a Great Future
Every girl deserves the chance to exceed beyond the circumstances that surround them. Your donation to Boys & Girls Clubs of America will support programs that level the playing field so every girl has access to the mentors, experiences and opportunities she needs to have a great future — and can become the leaders we all need now.