For this former Club kid, the key to success is being true to one’s self, and now she’s making an impact in her local community.
This post is part of a “Where Are They Now” series highlighting Youth of the Year winners who have gone on to become the leaders, innovators, and problem-solvers who now shape our world.
Club Alum: Raliyah D, 2016-17 Southeast Youth of the Year
Hometown Club: Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian River County
Tell us some highlights of your past year.
I completed my first year in Florida Gulf Coast University’s nursing program, and I studied abroad in Trinidad and Tobago – both were incredible experiences!
What’s the biggest lessons you’ve learned since your time in the Club?
When I went off to college, there was so much to explore, and I began to see the world through a different lens. I’ve learned that my differences are what make me unique, and that the key to success is being true to yourself.
In your opinion what are the biggest challenges kids face today?
The pressure to fit in and be like everyone else. Social media portrays an unrealistic standard of what kids should look like and dress like.
Do you have any personal stories of how the Club positively impacted your life?
Programs like SMART Girls and Healthy Habits nurtured my desire to become a nurse and helped me understand that I have the power to make a positive difference in the lives of others and how they feel about their bodies. I was inspired by my time in the Club to become an advocate for mental illness and substance abuse, and an educator for clean eating and adequate exercise.
What’s next for you?
My plan after college is to work at my local hospital and help out in my church ministry. After two years of working in the community, I plan to apply to an out-of-state graduate school and pursue a Doctor of Nursing degree.
Youth of the Year is Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier youth leadership program, honoring extraordinary young people and their achievements in leadership, service, academic excellence and leading a healthy lifestyle. On September 25, 2019, six finalists will be celebrated as the nation’s most inspiring teens, and one outstanding Club member will be selected as the National Youth of the Year. Learn more at BGCA.org/YOY.