The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Houston celebrated its annual Youth of the Year Scholarship Awards Banquet on February 20, 2018, where $79,000 in scholarship money was awarded to a total of 15 recipients. In the last twelve years, The Salvation Army has awarded more than $1 million to 160 participants through the Youth of the Year program.
The 2018 Youth of the Year overall winner is Maya Barnes, from The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club – Garden City Branch. Barnes competed in the 14 and older age division and received the top prize of a $12,000 college scholarship.
Barnes is currently in ninth grade at Cypress Springs High School. She excels at school and is an avid softball player, forming part of elite teams such as the Houston Astros regional team and Softball Factory national team. Barnes also received the MVP award from the Cy-Fair Intruders softball team. At the banquet, Barnes said, “As for my future aspirations, I plan to be an OB/GYN and plan to come back and work with other children so that they too have access to the opportunities that I have been blessed with.”
The 2018 Junior Youth of the Year winner is Caleb Smith, from The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs – Irvington Branch. Caleb competed in the 12 & 13 age group division, winning a $3,000 scholarship.
Smith is a seventh grader at Hamilton Middle School. Active in school sports, Smith is part of the basketball and track teams and is a percussionist in his school band. Outside of school, he has been named the local champion of the NFL’s “Punt, Pass & Kick” competition and recently joined the Houston Astros Inner City baseball program. Speaking about his experience in the Youth of the Year program, Smith said, “This was something outside of my comfort zone but with practice and determination I have proven to myself that I can succeed at this too. I am evolving into a young leader and I am proud of where my achievements are taking me.”
Older Division Scholarship Recipients
1st – Maya Barnes – Garden City Club – $12,000
2nd – Kahleah Chandler – Garden City Club – $10,000
3rd – Wallace Jones, III – Northwest – $8,000
4th – Maria Slater – International Corps – $7,000
5th – Deon Jackson – Irvington Branch – $7,000
6th – Jacob Chacon – Pasadena Branch – $6,000
7th – Yanna Mouton – Aldine Westfield Branch – $6,000
8th – Breanna Boyd – Aldine Westfield Branch – $6,000
9th – Jewel Fletcher – Garden City Branch – $5,000
10th – Myiesha McCardell – Irvington Branch – $5,000
Younger Division Scholarship Recipients
1st – Caleb Smith – Irvington Branch – $3,000
2nd – Carra Randle – Garden City Branch – $1,000
3rd – Aldo Aguilar – International Corps – $1,000
4th – Hilda Jeronimo – Irvington Branch – $1,000
5th – Omar Escobar – Garden City Branch – $1,000
The Youth of the Year Scholarship Awards Banquet event was chaired by Sara B. Wise. David Brady, public address announcer for the Houston Texans, served as the event’s master of ceremony.
Participants in the local Youth of the Year competition are members of The Salvation Army Youth programs, including The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs and TRIO Upward Bound Math Science program. The competition is divided into the following age groups: 10 to 11, 12 to 13, and 14 and older. The Youth of the Year program is a national Boys & Girls Clubs initiative, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club members. In the end, one club member will be selected as the National Youth of the Year winner.
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