The Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills recently named Jai’Torian Medley as the organization’s 2023 Youth of the Year representative.
It was a homecoming for some past-year winners who returned for the recently held Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills’ 25th Anniversary Youth of the Year event to reflect, share their stories, and showcase their talents, said The Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills in a press release.
Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills 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, Youth of the Year in 2014, shared her gift of music as she mesmerized everyone with her masterful violin playing. 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 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 “The Judges really enjoyed meeting each candidate,” and said, “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, a sophomore at Pinecrest High School, as the 2023 Youth of the Year.
Jai’Torian shared “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 would 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 Clubs’ impact 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.
Feature photo: Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills Operations Director Deon Allbrooks (left), Baxter Teen Center Director Germann Bostic, 2023 Youth of the Year Ja’Torian Medley and Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills CEO Steve Kastner.