Selected among three outstanding youth, Kalista Khadaran has been named the Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County. The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. Now in its 71st year, the Youth of the Year program honors our nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed and inspire. Kalista was awarded a $3,000 scholarship and will go on to vie for the Florida Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

“Kalista has been an inspiring leader in the Clubs for many years,” said Dawn Stanhope, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County. “We are proud to have her represent us in our community and beyond.”

Kalista, a junior at Southeast High School, is in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, which offers a rigorous course schedule and prepares students for college. Her future plans include going to college for journalism and mass communications and pursuing a career as a broadcast analyst or news anchor. Kalista, a Club member at the Boys & Girls Club at Southeast High School, started her Club journey eight years ago at the Palmetto Boys & Girls Club. She credits the Clubs for her commitment to academics, supporting and encouraging her through difficult times and being a place of refuge where she could be a kid.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County’s Youth of the Year program is made possible by a grant received from SunCoast Credit Union. In addition, the Youth of the Year Celebration Dinner and the scholarships awarded to Kalista and the two runner-ups ($1,500 each) were supported by sponsorships from NDC Construction Company, Regions Bank, Veteran Air, The Rehfeldt Group, Cavanaugh & Company, LLP and CenterState Bank. Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year recognition program is presented by Disney, who has supported the youth advocacy organization for more than 50 years, empowering young people to reach their full potential and providing youth with access to the tools they need to build the great futures they imagine. Toyota, the Signature Sponsor of Youth of the Year, is dedicated to inspiring the next generations of engineers, thinkers and leaders who will help drive the American economy.

If Kalista wins at the state competition, she will compete for the title of Southeast Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C. in September 2018, to compete for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable each year up to $100,000 and will have the opportunity to meet with the President of the United States in the White House.

Selected among three outstanding youth, Nicklaus Charles-Crowl has been named the Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County. The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. Now in its 70th year, the Youth of the Year program honors our nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed and inspire. Nicklaus, a senior at Bayshore High School, will now vie for the Florida Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Now 18 years old, Nicklaus has been a Club member since he was six. At the age of 8, Nicklaus and his family were in a car accident that took the life of his mother and brother, Christopher (9 yrs old). Nicklaus recalls the support the Club gave him through that very difficult time. “They helped my family with whatever they needed and still do today,” he said.

“I have seen Nicklaus grow and thrive in the teen program, ‘The CLUB,’ and serve as an inspiration to those that he serves at the Club, at school, on his basketball team and in the community,” said Leann Frink, Club Director of the DeSoto Boys & Girls Club. “His commitment to being a humble leader is infectious.”

Nicklaus says, “My purpose in life is to bring light to the eyes of those who look up to me and to be an example to those that I come in contact with. I know that my life was spared for a reason. I know that I am here to impact my family, friends, teammates and community in a positive way.”

If Nicklaus wins at the state competition, he will compete for the title of Southeast Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C. in September 2017, to compete for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable each year up to $100,000 and will have the opportunity to meet with the President of the United States in the White House.

Nicklaus will be attending Wisconsin Lutheran College in the fall, where he will study sport and exercise science and business while playing football and running track for the Warriors.

Lourde Blanc to Now Vie for State Title and Scholarship

Bradenton, March 7, 2016 – Lorde Blanc was announced as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County 2016 Youth of the Year. The announcement came at a Youth of the Year celebration dinner held at IMG Academy Golf Club on February 24. Lourde, a 17-year old member of The CLUB at Southeast High School, will compete against other Boys & Girls Club members for the Florida Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). The Youth of the Year program honors our nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed and inspire. As the new Youth of the Year for Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County, Lourde is a true example of an extraordinary young woman recognized by BGCA for her leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle.

“After an intense competition between Lourde and our DeSoto and Palmetto Club Youth of the Year finalists, we are pleased to recognize her accomplishment of being named Youth of the Year. She will do a wonderful job serving as our ambassador in the community and we are excited to watch her grow as she prepares for the state title,” expressed Dawn Stanhope, President of Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County.

“My time at the Club has made me realize my value to others. It opened my eyes to the world around me,” said Blanc, a junior at Southeast High School and Club member for three years.

George Schrier, Assistant Principal at Southeast High School, has known Lourde for two years and credits the Club for playing an important role in helping her overcome adversity to become a well-rounded, successful student and athlete. “Lourde Blanc personifies all that is positive about education,” said Schrier.
Part of Lourde’s Club Experience includes Keystone Club, a teen leadership and good character development program where members learn skills to positively impact their peers, Club and community. During the 2015 holiday season, she took part in a Keystone project that raised money to buy teddy bears for the children at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. She also gives her time to her church’s teen outreach program, where they discuss the challenges that teens face and the steps to staying on a path to success. Blanc’s plan beyond graduating high school includes attending college for criminal justice and continuing to help teens realize their potential.
During the celebration dinner, IMG Academy awarded Lourde with a $1,000 scholarship toward college. If she wins at the state competition, she will compete for the title of Southeast Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C., in September 2016, to compete for the title of BGCA’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable each year up to $100,000 and will have the opportunity to meet with the President of the United States in the White House. Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year recognition program is presented by Disney, with additional support from University of Phoenix and the Taco Bell Foundation.