On January 27, 2016, the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County hosted the second annual Youth of the Year Leadership Day. The Leadership Day was designed to expose our Youth of the Year candidates to our county’s political, community, education and business leaders. To start the day, our Club members had breakfast with Youth of the Year Presenter Ken Pruitt and both Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce Mayors at the Property Appraiser’s Office, toured the County offices, toured and had lunch at Indian River State College with President, Dr. Massey and finally participated in a panel discussion with business leaders at our Clubhouse. This was a town hall discussion where our members and panel engaged in dialogue on topics such as local business, our community and leadership. The Youth of the Year candidates have been selected for this important role based on embodying the values of leadership and service, academic excellence and healthy lifestyles. Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive.
“Hosting Mayor Hudson & Mayor Oravec along with the impressive Youth of the Year candidates was an honor and privilege for the Property Appraiser’s Office. Our community should be proud of our mayors and the talented youth leaders,” said Ken Pruitt, Saint Lucie Property Appraiser.
“It’s a pleasure to sit down with our future leaders & to share experiences. It is great for older generation to go to the well & be renewed by the enthusiasm of youth,” said Mayor Gregory J. Oravec.
“Great meeting these three panelist from Fort Pierce. Loved the opportunity, loved to be part of this process, I love our children in our community,” said Mayor Linda Hudson
“We appreciate the work of the Boys & Girls Club, the opportunity to visit with the participants who are the Youth of the Year candidates. It was a pleasure to be with this amazing group of young people who shared their vision of their future with me.” Said Dr. Massey, Indian River State College President.
Maya Brown, a senior at Fort Pierce Central High School, has been a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County for nine years. She spent her first few years at the Garden Terrace Unit, where she was involved with the Showtyme Steppers. At age 11 she became a member at the Infinity Unit where she first began acting and appearing at the Sunrise Theatre; at age 14 she then transferred to the Chuck Hill Unit where she began modeling with the Strut the Strip Models. Maya is very involved with school as a Color Guard, Cheerleader and Drama Student. Since starring in her first play, Maya has aspired to be an award-winning actress in Los Angeles. She recently auditioned for the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts of Los Angeles. She is currently the President of the C.H.U. Keystone Club. She has earned over 1,500 service hours serving for many years as a Junior Staff, Elder Care Day, MC/Hostess at community events, Park and Street Clean-Ups, Day 4 Kids and reading to the pre-K youth at the local A.L.P.I. Maya brings positive energy to every environment that she’s in and she will certainly brighten any room with her smile.
Kaitlyn Davidson is a 17 years old junior at Fort Pierce Westwood High School holding a grade point average of 3.0. Kaitlyn has been a member of the Garden Terrace Unit Boys &Girls Club of St. Lucie County for 10 years. Kaitlyn does a great job helping the younger members with their homework, art projects and activities. With her participation in the Club’s Keystone club combined with Jr. Staff program, she earned over 300 community service hours. “When I graduate I would like to attend The University of Tampa so I could major in veterinary medicine.” Kaitlyn believes with time and dedication she can achieve all of her goals. With her amazing personality, people gravitate towards her from peers to adults; she is determined to be the best and that’s why she is the youth of the year for Garden Terrace Unit.
Aleshia A Johnson, a junior at Fort Pierce Westwood High School, has been a member of Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County for approximately three years. She spent her first summer at the Club’s Mac Mascioli Unit, realizing that she wanted to attend afterschool as well she then transferred to the Infinity Unit because of its proximity to her house. Aleshia is a hardworking, enthusiastic student and active in the girls’ basketball team, theater, and has maintained a 3.5 GPA since middle school. Shortly after joining the Boys & Girls Clubs, it was discovered that Aleshia is a strong leader amongst her peers, she soon became the lead Junior Staff at the Infinity Unit because of her leadership skills. Due to her independent, loveable personality Aleshia plans to attend Florida State University and pursue a career in Business with a concentration on Real Estate. Aleshia desires to become an entrepreneur. Aleshia has earned over 275 service hours serving as a Junior Staff lead on projects such as Neighborhood/ Park Clean-Ups, Police/ Fire Safety Day, Day 4 Kids, and Infinity’s Worldwide Day of Play.
Monica Smith has been an active member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County Ken Pruitt Unit for 10 years. She is 17 years old and is a senior at St. Lucie West Centennial High School, holding a 3.5 GPA. Monica is a dual enrollment student and is currently 3rd in her class. She is striving to be 2nd, and is working hard to achieve this honor. Upon graduation, she plans to attend the University of Central Florida in the fall; pursuing a career in the medical field. Monica states “I will be the first person in my family to go to college”. Over the last few years she has been actively involved with the Club’s Jr. Staff program, community and club service initiatives, step team, Urban Floets group, and many fundraising efforts. Outside of the club, she keeps herself quite busy with activities that include going to the beach and skating. She also has a part-time job. Monica is goal driven and hard working. Anyone who knows her would agree that she is focused and motivated.
This year’s town hall discussion panelists include:
- Nicholas Mimms, Fort Pierce City Manager
- Tamara Williams, Sweet Life Realty
- Yatcha Barnes, Psi Pi Omega
- Patrick Kelly, DVM, Kelly’s Animal Hospital
Youth of the Year Presented by Ken & Aileen Pruitt is the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County’s premier youth recognition program for teen Club Members. The qualities of character, service and leadership that characterize a Youth of the Year are promoted in the Club every day. It is at the Club level that the Youth of the Year program has its greatest impact in developing young people.
Those who go on to state, regional and national levels of the program are afforded additional opportunities for personal growth. The 2016 winner represents Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County at the state level and potentially the national level where she will compete for a $25,000 scholarship renewable for four years up to $100,000 and an appearance at the White House thanks to Disney, Toyota, University of Phoenix and Taco Bell Foundation who sponsors the Youth of the Year program.