Teen honored as Youth of the Year

Youth of the Year winner Brian Ball with President & CEO Missy Dugan.

“Born to Inspire. Live to Inspire.”

These are the words Brian Ball, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta’s (BGCMA) 2015-2016 Youth of the Year said he lives and breathes by.

Ball said everyone has the power to change the world; each person just needs to believe it.

On Nov. 12 Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta hosted an awards ceremony for 16 Youth of the Year nominees. The event brought more than 700 attendees to the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta Hotel, including community leaders, supporters, staff and families.

Two participants, Juan Sebastian Rodriguez and Sabrina Artemus, represented DeKalb County clubs.

Thirteen Youth of the Year contestants pose for a group photo prior to the awards ceremony.
Thirteen Youth of the Year contestants pose for a group photo prior to the awards ceremony.

Attendees heard speeches about how the students got started in their clubs, how their clubs helped shape who they are and what their dreams are for their future.

The Youth of the Year award is BGCMA’s highest honor, recognizing teens from clubs in the metro Atlanta area who demonstrate leadership and hard work.

Brian impressed the judges with his leadership as president of Lawrenceville Boys & Girls Club’s Keystone Club, his service and leadership group for teens ages 14-18 and his ability to use his passion for photography, poetry and videography to highlight key social issues facing children today.

To date, Brian has worked on campaigns combatting bullying, preventing teen suicide and promoting the power of positivity. His most recent outreach “Turn it Off” encourages children to connect to each other and their communities on a personal level.

“My Boys & Girls Club has done so much for me and I am honored to represent the organization,” Ball said. “I believe my purpose in life is to connect, inspire and awaken my generation to the world around us. If we build each other up, we will all reach new heights.”

In addition to driving social change, Brian has also made huge strides in his academic career.

As Youth of the Year, Brian was awarded a $2,500 college scholarship, and in the spring of 2016, he will represent Metro Atlanta as Youth of the Year at the statewide competition.

Other candidates were Pherow Drain from Douglas County Boys & Girls Club who won first runner-up and received a $1,500 scholarship; Erika Simmons of Jesse Draper Boys & Girls Club won the Ada Lee Correll community service award and received a $1,000 scholarship.

“I’m so proud of our Youth of the Year candidates,” Missy Dugan, president & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta said.

“Our Clubs work to show kids that–even though they are young–they have a voice and can help drive positive change. It’s amazing to see all the ways these young leaders are giving back and making the world a better place.”
For more information on how to become involved with the organization, visit www.bgcma.org/get_involved.

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