BGCS 25th Anniversary Youth of the Year Announced

    It was a homecoming for some past-year winners who returned for the 25th Anniversary Youth of the Year event to reflect, share their stories, and showcase their talents. BGCS 2015 Youth of the Year winner Daniel Roberts reflected on how the Club helped him find a career path as a WNCN News Producer. His sister Edith Roberts, who was Youth of the Year in 2014, shared her gift of music as she mesmerized everyone with her masterful playing of the violin. Other former Youth of the Year winners including Kadisha Taylor, Monique Kiser, Jasmine Gray, Shu’ Diamond Utley, Brianna Brewington, and Ke’Ziah Simpson all came to support this year’s winner and catch up with staff and old friends.

Cory Dunn, Precious Dunn, and Jai’Torian Medley prepared for weeks in order to meet all the criteria to be eligible for Youth of the Year. Each candidate touched the crowd of approximately 200 people with their stories. Last year’s 2022 Youth of the Year, Tamia McKinnon shared “that the Judges had enjoyed meeting each candidate and said that it was a hard choice because each of them was so uniquely qualified”.

McKinnon then announced Precious Dunn as the winner of the Ambassador of the Year and Jai’Torian Medley as the 2023 Youth of the Year. Jai’Torian shared “that the Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills is not just a place for fun and games, but it is a safe place where I can be myself. The Club has helped me develop confidence, strength, and communication skills.” Medley said he like to own a business one day, possibly in real estate, and use the money that he makes to help those in need with safe and affordable housing.

Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills CEO Steve Kastner commented, “It was incredibly rewarding to be a part of the culmination of a five-month-long leadership development program that celebrated our members who have distinguished themselves. Over the years, these individuals have exemplified the Boys and Girls Club mission and are proof of the impact Clubs make in transforming and saving kids’ lives.” 

Jai’Torian received a laptop, courtesy of Pinehurst Toyota, and a $1,000 scholarship. He will compete in the State Youth of the Year event in April.

Others were recognized for their service to the Club and its Club members. Katrina Williams was named Staff Member of the Year, Michelle Jarecki was named Volunteer of the Year, and Linda Schneiter was named Board Member of the Year.

One of the highlights of the evening was the memorable farm-to-table meal from Elliott’s on Linden. A big thanks to Chef Mark Elliott, Elise Zwatteri, and the entire team at Elliott’s on Linden and Elliott’s Catering Company for their incredible, continued support of BGCS.

Our 25th Anniversary Youth of the Year event was presented by Veterans Guardian VA Claims Consulting and was also sponsored by Pinehurst Toyota, Creed & Garner Roofing, Mid Carolina Regional Association of Realtors, Van Camp, Mecham & Newman, Everything Pines Partners, A Southern Land Title, 195 American Fusion, Howells Masonry, McNeil Oil and Propane, Sandhills Pediatrics, Eye Candy Art Gallery, and ATEX Technologies, Inc.

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Ja'Torian wins Youth of the year. Photo with past Youth of the Year and this year's candidates.