THOMASVILLE – Selected among four outstanding youth, Ka’Mya Haywood has been named the Youth of the Year by Marguerite Neel Williams Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Georgia. 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 living a healthy lifestyle. 

Now in its 74th 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. Haywood will go on to vie for the Georgia Youth of the Year title and a college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

“Ka’Mya is truly deserving of this Youth of the Year title. She exemplifies every characteristic of a true Boys & Girls Clubs Club member,” said Saundra Austin, director of the Teen Center at MNW Boys & Girls Clubs. 

Haywood is a junior at Thomasville High School and is a member of The National Honor Society. She is active in extracurricular activities year-round such as cheerleading, participates in the Concert Band, and volunteers for both Hands On Thomas County and MLK Jr. Day of Service. 

Haywood has been a member of MNW Boys & Girls Clubs for nine years and continues to participate in many nationally recognized BGCA Clubs. Haywood is a member of the Thomasville Youth Leadership Council, where she is responsible to plan & implement Teen Community Health Projects related to Teen Pregnancy & HIV-AIDS Prevention. She also serves as Vice President for the Unity Keystone Club. 

Haywood has twice been employed at MNW Boys & Girls Clubs during the summer months through the Youth Employment Program. Haywood was nominated to be the very first teenager to serve on the MNW Boys & Girls Clubs’ Board of Directors.

Post high school, she plans to attend Fort Valley State University or Middle Georgia, majoring in either criminal justice or social work.

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 Haywood 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., 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.

For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit www.youthoftheyear.org.

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