Jeramiah Lyons from Boys & Girls Club of Allentown to receive $40K college scholarship and vie for national title this fall
Allentown, PA – June 27, 2018 – Selected among 12 outstanding finalists from Boys & Girls Clubs across the region, Jeramiah Lyons from Boys & Girls Club of Allentown has been named the Northeast Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of America. At the Northeast Youth of the Year Gala at the historic Cipriani in New York, Lyons received a $10,000 college scholarship renewable for up to four years, leading to a total of $40,000. The sixteen-year-old was selected as the Northeast Youth of the Year because of his determination, positive attitude and generous spirit.
“In my community, many in my generation have been drawn blindly down the wrong path; down a path that strays away from the positive influence of a place like my Boys & Girls Club,” Lyons said. “When I envision America’s youth, I don’t see the drugs, gang-riddled neighborhoods or broken homes. What I see is opportunity; opportunity for future leaders to rise.”
Lyons first joined his Boys & Girls Club at just 5 years old. While he had trouble making friends on his first day, the kindness and special attention of a Club volunteer left a lasting impression. Lyons is now a Junior Staff volunteer at the Club himself, and he is passionate about making younger kids feel welcome.
“Volunteering as a Junior Staff has led me to some of the greatest moments of my life so far,” he said. “From bringing hope and a smile to a kid’s face who tells you he’s having trouble with a bully at school, to walking home with a kid who’s too scared to go alone. It’s moments like these that have shown me that I can bring out the best of youth.”
In addition to his commitment to the Club and youth in his community, Lyons is determined to succeed as a student and athlete. He proactively seeks and engages in opportunities that will help develop him as a person. Prior to his freshman year, Lyons took and passed a challenging entrance exam so he could attend Lehigh Valley Academy for the ninth grade. He then proactively sought out a way to attend the highly regarded academic and sports program offered at Bethlehem Catholic High School for his sophomore year. This included looking into grant opportunities to cover the cost of tuition and setting up a meeting for his parents to meet with the school administration.
After beginning at Bethlehem, Lyons was selected as one of only two underclassman to join the varsity football team. He was also chosen to participate in the Multicultural Student Leadership Conference at Lehigh University, where he one day hopes to pursue a future career as a psychiatrist.
“Without a doubt, I believe Jeramiah is the spirit of leadership personified,” said Johanna Figueroa, senior unit director at Boys & Girls Club of Allentown-Sixth Street. “He is smart, dedicated and enthusiastic, with an optimistic view on life. I have very high hopes of a bright and promising future for him.”
In September, Lyons will travel to Washington D.C. to contend for the National Youth of the Year title, which comes with an additional $100,000 scholarship and the opportunity to serve as a spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of America representing four million Club kids and teens.
Founded more than seventy years ago 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 recognition program is presented by The Walt Disney Company, who has supported Boys & Girls Clubs of America for more than 50 years, empowering young people to reach their full potential and providing youth with access to the tools they need to build the great futures they imagine. Toyota is the Signature Sponsor of the national Youth of the Year program.
For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit youthoftheyear.org.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,400 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in Boys & Girls Clubs of America-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.
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Ashley Keyes, (404) 487-5466, [email protected]