On February 4, 2017, two amazing young people shared their testimonies on how the Boys & Girls Club has made a lasting impact on their lives.
Marque Morris found the Eastside Boys & Girls Club in 2008. He and his family have gone through tumultuous times, but the Club was a place that he could count on for consistency. The staff at the Club showed him how to reach his goals and how to be successful in school and in life. They taught him about respect, responsibility, and confidence. The staff gave him a quiet place to do homework and kept him on track in school. In addition, the Club provided Marque with incredible opportunities through the Youth Arts Initiative that he would not have had elsewhere. Marque’s dream is to perform, and the Club gives him a chance to shine on stage throughout the community. Upon graduation from Tech High School in 2018, Marque plans to attend McNally Smith for music production and singing.
Nature Hollins started attending the Roosevelt Boys & Girls Club about six years ago. She was dealing with a lot of struggles in her life, but she found that the Club environment was a positive place that lifted her up. The Club staff and members helped Nature find her smile, despite personal battles. She has learned so much from the Club, including how to prepare for the world of work. Nature got her first job as a junior staff at the Club, and this experience taught her that she wants to go to school for social work and child care. Nature is now a youth development staff at the Boys & Girls Club, and she has a great plan for her future, thanks to the many people who truly care about her at the Boys & Girls Club.
A panel of three judges, including: St. Cloud Police Department Commander Brett Mushatt, Adam O’Doherty, Executive Director for Partner for Student Success, and Tami DeLand, Director of Community Engagement & Communication for St. Cloud Area School District 742; interviewed each of the youth after reviewing their packets and listen to their speeches. Ultimately, the judged named Marque Morris the 2017 Youth of the Year.
Marque Morris will go on to compete at the state level in the Twin Cities on March 21, 2017.
The Youth of the Year finalists will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Windfeldt Family Scholarship Fund. The winner of the Central Minnesota Youth of the Year title for 2017 receives a $2,000 scholarship from the Windfeldt Family Scholarship Fund.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year embodies the organization’s three priority outcome areas of leadership, character and service; academic excellence; and healthy lifestyles. The Youth of the Year is selected based on the following criteria: academic achievement; communication and relationship skills; leadership and teamwork; character, honesty and integrity. Local Clubs recognize Youths of the Month and select a Youth of the Year, who then participates in the state competition. The state Youth of the Year will receive a $10,000 Home Team scholarship from the professional sports organizations in the state of Minnesota. State winners participate in regional competition. Five regional winners receive a $5,000 scholarship and compete on the national level. The National Youth of the Year receives an additional $10,000 scholarship and is installed by the President of the United States. The Youth of the Year Program is sponsored nationally by Disney with support from Taco Bell, Toyota and University of Phoenix.
For more information on the important programs the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota provides, please visit our website: www.bgcmn.org.