From Diontay, 2010 Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year
Good evening everyone. My name is Diontay Isaac, and I am the 2010 Youth of the Year. I would like to first thank the Boys and Girls Club for nominating me as the Youth of the Year. This means a lot to me and my family. This award would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the members of this Club. These members are the reason why I am a part of this organization. I am truly proud and honored to stand here before you all today and represent the Club.
I would like to take this opportunity, to tell you a little about myself. I am an 18 year old senior from Pinecrest High School. I have been a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sandhills for over six years. For the six years I have attended the Club, it has made a tremendous impact on my life.
In sixth grade my mom started a new job, and the only issue was that she had to go to work at the same time we would get out of school. My mother was a single parent, and there was no other family around, so Boys & Girls Clubs was the perfect option for me and my two younger sisters. I remember hearing about the Club from other kids around school, and it sounded very interesting, so I told my mother about it. She took us to the Club where my sisters and I got a tour, and we have been members ever since. Not only has the Club my life, but it has made a difference in the lives of my sisters as well.
As I grew older, I got more involved with the Club. They offered a variety of programs such as Torch Club, Keystone Club, Career Launch and Money Matters. Torch Club, and Keystone Club have helped me to assume responsibility and to make things I want to happen, seem possible. Being a Keystone Member, I really feel like I am making a difference to other kids and the Club.
I have now started at the Club as a Junior Staff member, and it has been a great experience for me. I have learned as much from the members, as they have learned from me. As a member, I just came to the Club, to socialize with my friends and participate in sports, but as a staff, I have learned to take time with the members, and learn things about them, and help them go in the right direction. It is a really good feeling knowing that I can be a positive role model, because they look up to me, instead of someone that can be a negative influence.
I have had many new and fun experiences while being a member of the Club, and one of the most memorable experiences for me so far, has been the Reindeer Fun Run. I placed 63rd in the event. It was a good experience because prior to the event, the staff members would run and practice with us to help us get better. At school, after I took gym class, I don’t get much exercise until I get to the Club. I look forward to coming here because of the games and the sports we play. Basketball, volleyball and pool are just some of my favorite games they offer here at the Club. The Staff members at the Club helped me a lot and they have changed my life in a positive way. When I had a problem, if I could not talk to anyone else, I always knew that I could come to the Club, and talk to a staff member, and they could relate to what I am going through. They have always given good advice.
Career Launch as a teenager, really started to get me thinking about what I am going to do after high school. It started to become a reality, that I am growing up, and about to be making decisions on my own. With the help of staff from the Club, that decision came to me a little easier. One of the staff played a big role in my decision to join the military. He was in the military several years and he told me about all of his life experiences through this. He was a great role model, and he gave me something to strive for. So with his information and advice, I joined the Army. On June 10, 2009, I started Basic Training. It was hard but the values and characteristics the Club instilled in me, helped me make it through. I graduated top 10% of army basic training on August 19th, 2009 from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sandhills changed my life immensely. They helped mold me into the person I am today.
Now I think about all that I have learned here and realize how instrumental this all is to my life. These events at the club impact not only my life but the many lives that come and go through these doors. While the effect will echo out for years to come, tonight is about honoring our members. It is about these wonderful members and their achievements.