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.

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