Good afternoon, my name is Imani. I am a candidate for Youth of the Year. We live in a community where people tend to focus on the negative rather than the positive. We need to uplift each other’s spirits. I want all youth to change their circumstances, no matter how big they are. We should let our weaknesses be the driving force towards our success. I was not always this polished person that you see standing before you today.
When I first started coming to the Club in 2015, I was very shy and did not talk to anyone. The Club staff always found a way to get me involved in their group activities. I really did not want to be around the other teens as much because I did not know anyone.
One day, Mrs. Courtney introduced me to the Dress 4 Career program. Dress 4 Career is a career-dress service whose purpose to help young women present themselves professionally through dress and attitude in interviews and other professional interactions. When we first started the four-week program, I had to interact with the other girls that were there. We had to exchange our names and what career we planned on pursuing. This opportunity helped me open up and improve my communication skills. This experience taught me that communication will get you a long way. Today, I interact with other teens at the Club and I can say that the Club helped me find my voice. Without communication, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Whenever I need advice, or just a laugh, someone is always there.
I want to inspire youth to believe that they can accomplish anything. “Work until your idols become your rivals,” is a quote that inspires me. I want to motivate other youth to reach their full potential and accomplish their dreams. Youth of the Year gave me the strength to find my voice. Believe it or not, there were a lot of times when I wanted to give up; but with my younger siblings looking up to me, failure was simply not an option. The Boys & Girls Clubs gave me the extra support I needed to push through hard times. I would like to thank all of the Club staff for helping me overcome this challenge. I also would like to thank Mrs. Courtney—you changed my life.