There is simply no stopping the juggernaut from Benton Harbor known as Tékeidra Masters. The Benton Harbor High School graduate continues to roll to victory at every stop, now earning the title of Midwest Regional Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Selected among 13 outstanding youth, Tékeidra scored her latest victory this week, winning yet again in the Youth of the Year competition at every level so far. 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 73rd year, the Youth of the Year program honors the nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures. As the Midwest Regional Youth of the Year, Masters will serve as an ambassador for all teens in the region, receive a $20,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and go on to contend for the national Youth of the Year title on October 6th.
A graduate of Benton Harbor High School, Masters is the first in her family to attend college. As a freshman at Valparaiso University in Indiana, she is majoring in Biology with plans to become a neurosurgeon. The summer before starting college, Masters interned at Spectrum Health’s Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph, as a part of the health system’s GROWTH program focused on black and brown students.
Masters credits Be There, the social and emotional development program at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor, for helping change her life. She says, “In a world where I screamed for help in hopes that someone heard me, the Boys & Girls Club did. The Club got me to open up physically, mentally, and emotionally and that’s when the change happened. My confidence grew and I began to express myself. I found my voice.”
Jim Clark, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, says, “We are incredibly proud of Tékeidra and all the Youth of the Year nominees,” and adds, “Being named Youth of the Year is a lifelong honor. As the Midwest Regional Youth of the Year, Tékeidra will serve as a spokesperson for Boys & Girls Club kids across the region who need more role models that they can admire and emulate.”
Founded in 1947 as Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club. The Youth of the Year program is supported by Toyota. As a Signature Sponsor of Youth of the Year, Toyota is committed to partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to ensure local Clubs provide life-enhancing opportunities for kids and teens to explore, develop and apply the essential skills they need to be successful in life and work. Youth of the Year representatives are the workforce leaders, innovators and problem-solvers of tomorrow.
On October 6th, Masters will join other state winners to vie for the national title. If named the national winner, she will be awarded an additional $50,000 college scholarship. Six youth, including five regional winners and a military youth winner, will advance to the virtual event to compete for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will also receive a new Toyota Corolla.
For more information about the Youth of the Year program, click the link: http://www.youthoftheyear.org.
Located at 600 Nate Wells Senior Drive, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor has served the youth of Benton Harbor since 1998. The Club provides after school and summer programs promoting educational and career development, character and leadership development, and healthy lifestyles for nearly 1,200 youth and teens each year at the Fettig Youth Campus and Joel E. Smilow Teen Center, as well as community-based locations in Benton Harbor and neighboring areas. Learn more online at http://www.bgcbh.org.