The Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Illinois held its 5TH Annual competition for the 2020 Junior and Senior Youth of the Year on Thursday, January 23rd at 6:00 pm at the SIU Student Center Ballroom D.
In front of nearly 150 people 4 high school students (Miles Showalter, Erica Hines, Trinitey Thompson, and Ahvineal Turman, Jr) competed for the Youth of the Year title. Additionally, 4 youth (Cordell Cady, Joshiya Neal, Dezaray Nix and William Toliver) competed for the Junior Youth of the Year award. All of these amazing young people won the hearts of the audience as they shared their Club experience, what mattered to them most and how they have overcome obstacles. Obstacles ranged from bullying, self-doubt, learning disabilities, growing up without a father, making friends and acceptance. The judges truly had their work cut out for them.
The 2020 Youth of the Year is Erica Hines, 9th grader at CCHS and member of the BGCSI for 4 years. She desires to be an entrepreneur and sell all-natural beauty products. She was awarded a $1000 scholarship sponsored by SIH. Erica will compete at the Illinois Youth of the Year competition in Bloomington, IL on April 21-22, 2020. The state YOY competition is sponsored by IlliniCare.
The 2020 Jr. Youth of the Year is William Toliver, 7th grader at Carbondale Middle School and has been a member of BGCSI for 4 years. He loves all things science, technology, engineering and math. He wants to be a scientist.
Both the Erica and William will be the 2020 ambassadors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Illinois.
The Keynote speaker was Tayvonne Landry, a BGCSI alumni, graduate of CCHS and SIU-C and a current Youth Development Professional with the Carbondale Middle School Club site. He shared the importance of having mentors and people in his corner that made the difference in choosing a positive pathway for his future and why he is now giving back so that other youth have that same opportunity to “imagine the possibilities.!”
The Marion VA Toastmasters were instrumental in helping the youth prepare for this evening; especially, Patti Howard, Carlotta Martin, and Michael Neal III.
BGCSI would like to thank the judges: Evie Barton, News Anchor, WSILTV3; Erik Berrey, English and Speech Teacher and Speech Team Coach for CCHS; Mandy McKee, Director of Special Education Services at CCHS and BGCSI Board Member; Dr. LaTonya Mouzon, Assistant Principal Parrish Elementary School; April Ruebke, Magic 95.1 Morning Show Host from River Radio; and Amy Spiller, Marketing Coordinator at Banterra Bank.
Sponsors for the event were: SIH, Karina Neill Photography, Withers Broadcasting Companies, Bonnie & Steve Wheeler, Aisin Manufacturing, Kara Jones-Daly & Patrick Daly, Regina & Jim Glover, Diane & Estus Hood, Joseph Hudgins Orthodontics, Carolyn Snyder, Kathie Fralish and WSILTV3.
The Youth of the Year Celebration for 2021 will be on January 21, 2021 so mark your calendars!