2016-17 Southwest Military Youth of the Year
With both parents serving in the U.S. Army, Essence has faced many challenges unique to the children of military families. While her Boys & Girls Clubs of America-affiliated Youth Center initially served as a fun place to play with friends or catch up on homework, the group became a lifeline. When her parents deployed, Essence was able to turn to the Club for support. Adults trained to help military youth cope with deployment assuaged her fears, and she was able to share her feelings with peers who had similar experiences.
Through it all, Essence has grown into a resilient, driven young woman. She volunteers regularly at the local Child Youth and School Services (CYSS) School Age Center, and she is a member of her high school marching band. Essence excels in school and participates in the Club’s academic programs, such as Power Hour and Smart Girls, to help reach her goals.
Essence hopes to study law at Washburn University after she graduates from high school in 2018.