(MOBILE, AL)- Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama will celebrate outstanding teens at the Youth of the Year (YOY) Luncheon on Thursday, May 25, at the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel, 64 S. Water St, Mobile, AL 36602.
YOY is the signature event that aligns with our mission to enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. This program recognizes and celebrates children and youth and provides a platform to showcase their skills, share their stories, and inspire others.
Honorees were selected from the six traditional Clubs based on submitting a completed application, recommendations, and interviews with community leaders. Their outstanding leadership skills, exemplary service to others, academic excellence, and commitment to a healthy lifestyle played a role in the selection process.
Ryan Mosley is the 2023 Alabama Youth of the Year and BGCSA 2023 Youth of the Year. Ryan was a once-timid teen who found his voice and confidence at the Bernard Malkove Branch after struggling to connect with others. He transformed into an outgoing and charismatic youth with the support of his newfound friends, the Club’s welcoming community, and participating in community service projects and Club programs such as Keystone Club and Torch Club. He is an honor roll student, a member of Baker’s advisor’s council, and a member of Mobile Kappa League, where he serves as secretary.
Ryan’s experiences at the Club have also significantly impacted his academic career. His newfound confidence helped him become an honor roll student and serve on Baker High School’s Advisors Council. He also serves as an officer with the Mobile Kappa League, where he works as the secretary and attends meetings and events.
Ryan plans to attend Jackson State University after graduating in 2024, thanks to the support and guidance of his mentors, teen coordinator Pamela Thompson and director of teen services Jermaine West. “I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am to have these two people in my life,” Ryan says. “They introduced me to many opportunities and continue contributing to my educational growth daily.” Boys and Girls Club has been a haven for Ryan, promoting creativity and helping him blossom into the young man he is today.
Jayden Johnson, a junior at Foley High School, is a compassionate and funny individual who inspires and gives back to the community. He overcame anxiety, fear of judgment, and rejection to make a difference in the lives of others. Jayden is a youth volunteer at the Club, providing homework and academic assistance to kids. He also participates in volunteer activities such as Baldwin County Beach Clean Up and the Baldwin County American Heart Association Heart Walk.
In addition to his volunteerism, Jayden works part-time at Winn Dixie. His kindness and helpfulness have received compliments from Club kids and their families. Focused, ambitious, and driven, Jayden’s character and integrity serve as a shining example, and he is sure to excel in any endeavor he pursues.
Rashaad J. is a high school senior and Kiwanis Branch Club member who has gone through significant personal growth in his seven years at the Kiwanis Branch. After behaving irresponsibly and following the wrong people, Rashaad aligned himself with positive role models. He became Keystone Club president, completed job-training programs, and excelled as a photographer and social media director for the Club and his school. Despite facing personal challenges, Rashaad remains optimistic and plans to pursue a professional photography career after graduation from Davidson High School. His story is a powerful testament to the impact of positive mentorship and personal perseverance.
Kayleigh M’s decade-long journey with the Optimist Branch has been transformational. What started as a place to run around and have fun, Kayleigh’s interest in Club programs changed her outlook. Through participating in activities like Smart Girls, Gavel Club, Torch Club, Ignite Program, swim, dance team, cooking classes, and many more, Kayleigh now sees Club activity as an opportunity for growth and development. From serving as Keystone Club president and a teen mentor to taking financial literacy classes, Kayleigh learned skills that prepare her for the workforce while volunteering her time and talent to those in need. Kayleigh credits the Club as her strong and positive support system, which has made a difference in her life and helped her personal and academic growth and development. Kayleigh is a rising senior at Murphy High School and plans to attend Southern University after graduation.
Brooklyn R. is a determined, ambitious, and enthusiastic student who has achieved excellence in academics, sports, and community service. She credits her success to her time at the Semmes Branch, where she discovered her passions and built her confidence. Through programs such as Smart Girls, Torch Club, Keystone Club, and No Limits Aviation Club, she has gained knowledge in essential life skills, serving others, leadership, and exemplifying integrity. She was named the BGCSA 2022 Youth of the Year and used her platform to speak out against drug abuse and domestic violence. The Mary G. Montgomery senior is a member of the Honor Society, volleyball team, and other organizations. Upon graduating high school in 2023, she plans to further her education at the University of Mobile.
Ashleigh R. is an outstanding high school student passionate about helping others and speaking out against disparities. Attending the Sonny Callahan Branch, Keystone Club exposed her to different experiences and ignited her desire to serve her community. Now, the Keystone Club secretary, Ashleigh mentors younger kids, participates in community service and fundraising projects and has worked on Breast Cancer and Alzheimer’s Walks. She’s also on the honor roll at Theodore High School with a 4.0 GPA and is a robotics team member. Despite the accolades from her peers and teachers, Ashleigh remains humble and credits the Club for giving her a space to relax and be supported by kind staff and peers.
Youth of the Year is the organization’s main fundraising event and an opportune time for the public and business community to learn first-hand about the impact Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama have in shaping the lives of area youth.