Introducing the 2019 Youth of the Year
Being selected as a Youth of the Year is one of the highest honors you can receive at Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond. It means that you are not only a leader in your Club, but you embody that values of academic excellence and service, and exemplify the critical impact of Boys & Girls Clubs.
In year’s past, two young people would represent their Clubs as the Junior Youth of the Year and the Youth of the Year. That group of 10 members would participate in the leadership program. The five Youth of the Year would go through the robust interview process before one was selected as Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond’s overall Youth of the Year. This year, the program has expanded to 14 members, with multiple representatives from Clubs.
“We were finding that we had two or three members at each Club who were great leaders,” said Jade Tabb, alumni coordinator and Youth of the Year mentor. “We decided to open up the opportunity to anyone who was passionate about being a leader in their Club.”
While there is a competition component, the Youth of the Year program has grown into much more. This year-long program challenges young people to use their voice, builds confidence and helps them discover their inner strengths. This year, the Youth of the Year participants focused on five areas – writing, presentation skills, interpersonal skills, reputation management/personal branding and effective communication– all of which were developed through community partnerships and mentorships.
Before Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond announces the winner at the Youth of the Year Celebration on February 27 at the Science Museum of Virginia, get to know these 14 dynamic teen leaders.
Youth of the Year
The Youth of the Year are leaders ages 14 to 18 years, who embody excellence in the areas of academics, character and citizenship and healthy lifestyles. They are recognized at the local, state, regional and, finally, at the national level, receiving scholarships for future postsecondary education plans.
Harmoni - Petersburg
Harmoni has been a member for four years. She is always happy to help the staff or help the younger members with their homework. When she’s not in the Club, you can find Harmoni at dance class or taking part in her mentoring group – Cupcakes and Conversation. Just a 10th grader, Harmoni is already looking ahead, wanting to pursue a career in the medical field.
Kwelasia - Southside
Kwelasia has grown up in the Clubs – she’s been a member for 11 years. Kwelasia knows the ins and outs of the Southside Club, where her mom is a program instructor. Kwelasia enjoys helping with Kids Café and performing with the dance team. When she’s not in the Club, she’s on the sidelines as a member of her high school cheer team. The 11th grader hopes to become a nurse.
Zion - Southside
Zion has been a member since he was 10 years old. The quiet, down-to-earth leader can be found helping younger members with their homework or drawing in his sketchbook. A senior in high school with a 4.0 GPA, Zion plans to attend college locally and study child psychology. He wants to inspire kids to be themselves and have a mindset to change the world.
Jaesean - Northside
Jaesean has been a member for four years. He encourages other members to be themselves, find their voices and to never stop growing. The 10th grader is an aspiring actor and is involved with the drama club at his high school.
Jada - Petersburg
Through her experiences at the Club over the last three years, Jada has discovered her voice, an entrepreneurial spirit and her joy in working with children. The 11th grader hopes to open a daycare center when she gets older. You can often find her singing and encouraging everyone to follow their dreams.
Jasimine - Fairfield Court
Ask anyone that knows Jasimine and they’ll tell you she’s a natural leader. A member for the last five years, Jasimine has honed skills through teen programming and assisting the staff at Fairfield Court. At her high school, Jasimine is a member of the Color, Honor and Royal Guards and the Saber Team. While only in 10th grade, Jasimine has her future planned out – she wants to attend Spelman College and become a psychiatrist.
Keira - Northside
Keira has been involved with the Clubs since she was 11 years old. As a teen member at Northside, she’s had the opportunity to create a dance program and a Club store while helping to plan special events. She’s also enjoyed being able to build bonds with the other members.
Junior Youth of the Year
Distinct from the Youth of the Year program, Junior Youth of the Year seeks to develop our next wave of leaders, ages 10-13, within the Club environment.
Jamar - Fairfield Court
Jamar is the newest member of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond, having joined this year. The sixth-grader’s best memory, so far, is participating in a 10K run. Jamar looks up to his big sister, Jasimine, and hopes to go to college one day.
Amya - Southside
Amya has been a member at Southside since she was eight years old. The eighth-grader has taken on many leadership roles, including helping at the front desk and Kids Café. When she’s not in the Club, she’s playing basketball or volleyball or running track.
Regan - Northside
Regan is one of the youngest Junior Youth of the Year, but is eager to lead at Northside. She believes that you can do anything you set your mind to. When she gets older, she wants to attend Empire Beauty School.
A’Landa - Southside
A’Landa has been a member for the last seven years and loves meeting new people and making friends. The eighth-grader has big plans for her future, she hopes to attend her favorite school - James Madison University - and then law school so she can become a lawyer.
TaDreama - Northside
For the second straight year, 12-year-old TaDreama is a Junior Youth of the Year at Northside. She really enjoys helping the younger members and is excited about the opportunities the Club has provided her. When she gets older, TaDreama is looking forward to going to college.
Destiny - Fairfield Court
Destiny joined the Fairfield Court Club three year ago. As one of the older members at Fairfield Court, the quiet, but strong leader can often be found helping with homework, serving dinner or cleaning up. When she’s not in the Club, she’s a member of her school’s band and loves to play basketball.
Saniyah - Petersburg
Saniyah has done a lot in her two years at the Petersburg Club. She really enjoys participating in Ready2Win programming and meeting other teen members. She also enjoys the fun activities in the summer, especially going to Busch Gardens. Saniyah’s passion is dancing and wants to go to college to study dance.