2018 Kiwanis Club of Orlando Foundation Youth of the Year
Ja’Keevious Mack, a 17-year-old Senior at Edgewater High School in Orlando, has been named 2018 Kiwanis Club of Orlando Foundation Youth of the Year. He was selected through a competitive judging process of 7 finalists, who were themselves selected from among the more than 1,300 teens served by BGCCF.
An eleven-year member of BGCCF’s Joe R. Lee Branch in Eatonville, Ja’Keevious distinguished himself from the competition as a persuasive advocate for the mission of Boys & Girls Clubs and the power of determination. Mack credits the Club, and particularly its Service Director, Austin Long, with helping him through the devastating loss of his older brother to drug violence in 2016. Following the tragedy, the Club provided Mack with the counseling, academic tutoring, and emotional support he needed to overcome the trauma.
Mack has already been accepted to four colleges, and plans to study law. After college, he hopes to return to Eatonville and pursue a career in law and public service. He says that he’s inspired by Long, another Eatonville native, who returned to the historically black community after college to serve its residents through Boys & Girls Clubs.
2017 State of Florida Youth of the Year:
“Like a nest is to a bird, my Club is to me.”
Budding entrepreneur Arianna Montrose, an 18-year-old Senior at Liberty High School in Poinciana and 6-year member of the Poinciana Teen Center, is the 2017 State of Florida Youth of the Year.
Arianna distinguished herself from the competition with her successful track record as an entrepreneur. She is the founder and co-owner of Layers of Love, which manufactures and sells ready-to-eat cheesecakes in a jar. Through this business, Arianna earned enough money to fund a recent trip to London with her high school, and routinely donates to charitable projects.
Arianna is dually enrolled at Liberty and Valencia College, maintains a 4.2 GPA, and will be the first member of her family to attend college. A natural leader, Arianna has served as President of the Keystone Club, Captain of her school’s Speech and Debate team and Youth Director at New Horizon Bible Fellowship. She calls her choice to start attending the Poinciana Teen Center as a 12-year-old “the best decision I’ve ever made.”
2016 Kiwanis Club of Orlando Foundation Youth of the Year
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida is proud to announce that Tatyania Watts, a six-year Club member from our Temple Terrace Branch, has been selected as the 2016 Kiwanis Club of Orlando Foundation Youth of the Year.
Chosen from among a talented group of finalists, Tatyania demonstrates extraordinary strength and leadership skills. In her new role, she hopes to show youth that no matter where you come from, you can do anything you set your mind to. Tatyania is a fantastic role model for today’s youth and we are excited to follow her journey as Youth of the Year.
Want to hear more of Tatyania’s incredible story? Make sure you attend Celebrate The Children 2016 to hear her keynote presentation!
2014-2015 National Youth of the Year
“With the Boys & Girls Club, I found confidence. I found a home.”
On September 17, 2014, Maryah Sullivan from our Joe R. Lee Branch in Eatonville, was named Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 2014-2015 National Youth of the Year at a Congressional Breakfast in Washington D.C. Senators, representatives and BGCA partners and supporters were in attendance as she accepted the honor. Maryah became the first youth in Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida’s history to be named the National Youth of the Year. This honor is reserved for one Club member who exemplifies impactful service to their community, academic success and strong moral character. As National Youth of the Year, Maryah will serve as an ambassador for Boys & Girls Clubs youth and as a strong voice for all of our nation’s young people.
Maryah graduated from Edgewater High School with a 4.4 grade point average and is now a freshman at the University of South Florida, the first in her family to be accepted into college.