Exceptional teen named Youth of the Year by the MNW Boys & Girls Clubs of SWGA

Feb. 8—THOMASVILLE- Selected among numerous outstanding youth across Southwest Georgia, Desmond Diggs has been named the local Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of SWGA. The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence, and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. Now in its 25th year, the Youth of the Year program honors the community's most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures. As the local Youth of the Year, Diggs will serve as an ambassador for all teens in the club and community, will receive a $500 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of SWGA, and will advance to the state Youth of the Year in Atlanta, Ga.

Diggs is an 11th grade student at Thomasville High School and has been a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs for 12 years. He has accumulated over 250 community service hours, volunteering working in The Club Teen Center Café', HOTC, Keep Thomasville Beautiful, MLK Day of Service and he has been employed with the Boys & Girls Clubs for 2 years. Diggs plans to attend Ga. State University to major in Education.

Diggs said "the Boys & Girls Clubs has helped me improve my leadership skills, by putting me in situations where I had to rely on what I learned in my Workforce Readiness class when I applied for my first job outside of the club."

Diggs has actively participated in Career Launch, a program that helps teens explore careers, make sound educational decisions, and prepare them to join the nation's work force. Diploma to Degrees, a college readiness program, provides a range of services to guide Club members as they work toward high school graduation and prepare for post-secondary education and career success. Money Matters/Financial Literacy, Public Speaking, and Passport to Manhood sessions while attending The Club and his favorite Club program is Keystone Club, which is a teen group dedicated to leadership and community service.

"We are incredibly proud of Desmond and all the Youth of the Year nominees," said Saundra L. Austin, Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of SWGA. "Being named Youth of the Year is a lifelong honor and accomplishment. As the local Youth of the Year, Desmond will serve as a spokesperson for Boys & Girls Club kids and teens in our community who need more role models that they can admire and emulate."

Founded in 1947 as Boys & Girls Clubs of America's premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member's family, school, community, and Boys & Girls Club. The Youth of the Year program is supported by Toyota and Mondelēz- International. As the Signature Sponsor of Youth of the Year, Toyota is committed to partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to ensure local Clubs provide life-enhancing opportunities for kids and teens to explore, develop and apply the essential skills they need to be successful in life and work. As the Lead Sponsor of Youth of the Year, Mondelēz International, will engage with local Clubs year-round to help foster a new generation of leaders prepared to live in and lead a diverse global economy. Youth of the Year representatives are the workforce leaders, innovators, and problem-solvers of tomorrow.

This month Diggs will join other Youth of the Year to vie for the Georgia State title. If named the State Youth of the Year, he will be awarded an additional $2500 college scholarship. The five finalists, along with the State Military Youth of the Year, will advance to the Regional Youth of the Year event later this year to receive additional scholarship in the amount of $20,000, to vie for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America's National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year receives an additional scholarship of $50,000 and a brand-new Toyota Corolla.

For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit www.youthoftheyear.org.

The MNW Boys & Girls Clubs has been an active pillar in the Thomasville community for 25 years. Their mission is to provide a safe place for kids and teens to learn and grow. The club offers caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Boys & Girls Clubs programming promotes academic success, good character and leadership, and healthy lifestyles. The Boys & Girls Clubs of SWGA is located at 219 Fletcher St. Thomasville, Ga. for more information on how to become an active member please contact them at 229-228-5155.