2020-21 Midwest Youth of the Year
Club/Organization: Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor
Length of Membership: 3 years
College: Valparaiso University
Career Interest: Neurosurgery
Defining Characteristics: Optimism, Integrity
“Living in poverty and coming from a single-parent household are things that helped shape, not hinder me from reaching my full potential. The Boys & Girls Clubs belief in me helped me defy statistics and rise as a success. That is why the Club is home for me and more than four million kids just like me worldwide.”
Every young person, like Tékeidra, deserves a safe, positive environment in which to learn and grow.
After losing a family member to cancer and transferring to a new high school, Tékeidra struggled to find purpose and belonging. When her family signed her up for the Boys & Girls Club, she went from feeling isolated to feeling like she belonged. With support from Club staff and peers, she developed communication and leadership skills and participated in programs that gave her a healthy and positive outlook.
Tékeidra is passionate about creating positive change and started a project called Becoming Future Friends (BFF), which provides the foundation for unexpected friendships and facilitates conversations to help teens feel more connected to one another. After running a successful BFF program at her Club, Tékeidra hopes to expand the program to additional Clubs.
Through her Club’s college prep program, Tékeidra became aware of college and career options and is now a freshman at Valparaiso University. She plans to become a neurosurgeon.