|"Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith and Titans board member Kenneth Adams present Boys & Girls Clubs members Ashley Heatherly (center), Clifton Biddwell and Tavina Malone with checks for scholarships that are made possible with money raised through the sales of Titans Foundation specialty plates. Boys & Girls Clubs are one of 10 charities that receive money from the Titans Foundation through the plate program.|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans on Wednesday were pleased to recognize young people who are exemplary members of their respective Boys & Girls Clubs from across Tennessee.
"Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith served as emcee, and Titans board member Kenneth Adams spoke during the 2014 Youth of the Year Celebration at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown.
The luncheon included distribution of three college scholarships that totaled $10,000 and were made possible with funds raised by the Tennessee Titans Foundation. Boys & Girls Clubs of Tennessee is one of 10 charities that receive money from the sale of specialty Titans Foundation license plates. Boys & Girls Clubs of Tennessee uses some of that money to award the scholarships annually when naming its Youth of the Year, the highest award that can be earned in the clubs.
Adams complimented Boys & Girls Clubs for the positive impact they have on youth, and said the Titans are pleased that sales of the license plates have enabled the Tennessee Titans Foundation to distribute $2.3 million to charities since the Tennessee State Legislature approved issuance of the plates in October 2003. This is the ninth year of the partnership between the Titans Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs.
"The Boys & Girls Clubs' emphasis on integrity, excellence, honesty, diversity, respect, responsibility and compliance are all things the Titans' organization is very proud to be associated with," Adams said. "The scholarships that were distributed show that we're in line with what they're trying to do and very pleased to partner with that organization."
|Boys & Girls Clubs members from across Tennessee attended the 2014 Youth of the Year Celebration. Click here for a slideshow.|
Boys & Girls Clubs National Vice President of Program, Training and Youth Development Services Lorene Jackson said approximately 48,000 young people are members of Boys and Girls Clubs throughout Tennessee. Jackson said the 19 Tennessee Youth of the Year contestants are model citizens.
"We are blessed at Boys & Girls Clubs to have a great group of young people that have come to us for the 2014 State of Tennessee Youth of the Year competition," Jackson said. "They are the epitome of character and integrity and ethical behavior."
Ashley Heatherly, of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Smoky Mountains, was named Youth of the Year through a process that included submitting essays on home, family, moral character, school and goals, as well as delivering a three-minute speech and a undergoing a 10-plus minute interview with judges.
Heatherly received a $5,000 scholarship made possible with money from the Titans Foundation and a $1,000 scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs and will advance to a regional contest that will be held in Atlanta this summer. She spoke about how becoming a Boys & Girls Clubs member helped her overcome the death of her father and losing her home to a fire. Heatherly said she is determined that the tragedies in her past won't determine her future.
"With Ashley, she is a shining example of perseverance and grit and stick-to-it-ness. She came to us not necessarily being in the right spot, but through the work and support of the staff there at the Boys & Girls Clubs, we've been able to really bring out those leadership skills that she already had," Jackson said. "It's our job to help them reveal themselves. The experiences that a lot of our young people have are ones where they are persevering, they are overcoming odds, and the 19 that we had are just a representative sampling of the young people that we have from across the state."
Clifton Biddwell, of Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, was named first runner-up and received a $3,000 scholarship, and Tavina Malone, of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis, was named second runner-up and received a $2,000 scholarship made possible with money from the Titans Foundation.
Zachary Cosey, a member of Mid-South Naval Support Activity, was named Military Youth of the Year and was awarded a $5,000 grant. Cosey has distributed school bags to less fortunate students and told them, "they're awesome and worth something." He said participation in Boys and Girls Clubs helped him with the challenges of relocating because of his family's service to the military.
"Zachary exemplifies a military family. He's moved around the lot," Jackson said. "He has friends but he's moved schools. He is a shining example of what we hope our military families and the investment that they make in their young people can do."
Jackson said Boys & Girls Clubs appreciate the relationship with the Titans Foundation.
"The Tennessee Titans have been a godsend. They have been a blessing to so many young people and so many Boys & Girls Clubs members across the state," Jackson said. "Without them, I don't know if some of them would have been able to go to school and be able to buy books and have what they need as they go into post-secondary education, and we can't thank them enough for their support over the last nine years, and we hope to continue that relationship for many years to come."
2014 Tennessee Youth of the Year Contestants:
Whitney Andes (Elizabethton/Carter County), Clifton Biddwell (Cleveland), Johnny Britt (Johnson City/Washington County), Anna Burch (Jackson), Austin Chatman (Maury County), Zachary Cosey (Mid-South Naval Support Activity), Brooklyn Goolesby (Rutherford County), Cheyenne Gray (Greeneville/Greene County), Michael Gray (Cumberland Plateau), Ashley Heatherly (Smoky Mountains), Kaitlyn Huertas (Morristown), Isabelle Krueger (Greater Kingsport), Tavina Malone (Greater Memphis), Trevon Mays (Northwest Tennessee), Carlisha McKenzie (Chattanooga), Alexo'ndria McKinney (Tennessee Valley), Destiny Moore (Middle Tennessee), Whitney Moore (Dumplin Valley), Deondre Nelson (Pulaski), Cheyenne Poe (Monroe Area)