A ‘Youth of The Year Competition’ from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis

Eight students will inspire judges with their stories of great achievements, overcoming obstacles, and commitment to family and community. BGCM is increasing scholarship funding for these remarkable Club members

Eight exemplary members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis will compete on Thursday, February 8th to become BGCM’s 2024 Youth of the Year, the highest award available in Boys & Girls Clubs organizations across the country. Nominees from the 16 Clubs serving high school students will submit essays in the categories of My Club Experience, What Matters to Me, and Personal Growth as part of their application, along with transcripts, resumes, and letters of recommendation. BGCM’s leadership team will then review and score applications, narrowing it down to eight finalists who will participate in the event on February 8th. Finalists deliver speeches and engage in Q&A with a panel of professionals representing distinct sectors throughout the evening. This year’s judges are leaders across various fields in Memphis including business, health, education, law, and manufacturing:

  • JB Smiley Jr., City Councilman and Managing Attorney, Smiley & Associates, PLLC
  • Eboni Ware-howze, Area Distribution Manager, Coca-Cola Consolidated
  • Tina Moore, Director of Account Management, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
  • Lacretia Carroll, PhD in Nursing from UTHSC and DEI Consultant
  • Rhonda Hill, School Counseling Supervisor, Memphis City Schools
  • Gary Giles, Chief Executive Officer, Nice-Pak Products

In years past, the first-place winner has traditionally received a $1,000 scholarship. With dramatic increases in education costs year after year, the BGCM leadership team recognizes the need to do more. All nominees and finalists will receive gifts to honor their accomplishments. Thanks to support from Planters Bank and major donors, BGCM is elevating scholarship funding awarded to first, second, and third place winners this year:

  • 1stPlace – $5,000
  • 2ndPlace – $2,500
  • 3rdPlace – $1,000

BGCM’s new CEO, Metise Moore Sr., shared his thoughts on increasing scholarship funding: “Now more than ever, we need to invest in our kids. Between inflation and rising education costs, financial barriers toward accessing higher education continue to grow. We’re upgrading our Youth of the Year scholarships to take a small but impactful step in combatting this issue.” The first-place winner will compete at the statewide Youth of the Year competition with the opportunity to secure an additional scholarship and move on to the national competition.

This year’s Youth of the Year will encompass other new improvements with the support of a successful emcee, Ena Esco, and talented event designer, Chievina Irons. Ena Esco is an iHeart Media radio host and podcast creator of Verbally Effective, an interview-style podcast that intersects art, culture, politics, and entertainment. Chievina Irons, owner of Pretty Posch Events, will be rolling out the blue carpet for the Youth of the Year contestants. To support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis as they strive to enhance this signature event, visit the Youth of the Year page on www.bgcm.org.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis’ mission statement is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. They serve over 6,700 youth at 20 locations, providing core programming in areas of Academic Success, Healthy Lifestyles, Good Character & Citizenship, and Career Readiness.

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