Posted: February 12th, 2020
On Wednesday, February 5th, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis held its annual Youth of the Year Competition presented by HigherVisibility.
Five nominees, each representing their local Club, competed for the title of 2020 Youth of the Year. In front of 9 judges from the Memphis community, each nominee delivered a three minute speech that shared their Club experience, what matters to me, and overcoming obstacles. After their speech, the nominees participated in a nine minute question and answer session in front of the judges, where they discussed their future education, career goals, ideas for a better city, and life experiences.
After a night full of inspiring stories, Jyahyara Lawson was named the 2020 Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis Youth of the Year. Jyahyara is a senior at Kingsbury High School where she is a member of the school’s newspaper staff and varsity track team. She has been a member of Ira Samelson Boys & Girls Club for three years. She is a member of the Torch Club and leader within the Notes for Notes Music Studio within the Samelson Club.
When asked to share about her Club Experience, “When I arrived to the Club I struggled with anxiety in social situations and a huge fear of engaging with others. However, the staff made sure I was safe and comfortable. From the moment I entered the club staff greeted me with excitement. I felt their energy and it made me excited about being a part of the club.”
Before coming to the club, Jyahyara’s internal struggles caused anxiety in social situations. She has an incredible fear of engaging with others. However, she credits participating in Boys & Girls Clubs programming for helping her connect with her feelings and become courageous enough to come out of her shell. At a very young age she was diagnosed with cancer but faith, hard work and a steady support system has enabled her to beat the odds and live a full, healthy and active life. She plans to attend South West College after high school and becoming a licensed cosmetologist.
As the 2020 Youth of the Year, Jyahyara will represent Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis at the Tennessee State Youth of the Year Competition in Nashville next month. She hopes to inspire others in the community to believe they can overcome any obstacle to achieve their dreams.
Learn more about Jyahyara and the impact that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis has had on her life by reading her the three essays that she completed for the competition.
Thank you to our friends at HigherVisibility for sponsoring the 2019 Youth of the Year Competition!