Youth of the Year goes for encore

Published 9:09 pm Thursday, January 25, 2018

For the second year in a row, Niyasia Scott, 17, has been named Youth of the Year for the Boys and Girls Clubs Suffolk Unit.

Scott, a senior at King’s Fork High School, will go into a final round of judging on Feb. 17, then join other honorees from across the Southeast Virginia region at the ninth annual Youth of the Year Dinner held on March 8 in Norfolk.

“I’m grateful that they saw that I made an improvement, and that I’m trying to become someone,” Scott said.

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

Scott volunteers with kindergarten, first- and second-grade students. She supervises them, helps them with homework and teaches them games that improve their spelling and reading.

Sometimes they’ll even have a dance contest.

“I don’t dance, but I set up the dance contest for them to dance,” she laughed.

LaMarr Coles III, director of the Suffolk Unit, has seen Scott get better and better with the young kids over the years.

“She has a heart for the kindergarten through (second grade),” Coles said. “She has a good rapport with them.”

He said Scott has come a long way since she first joined the club about six years ago. After losing her father when she was only 5 years old, she overcame her obstacles to set herself on a better path.

“Niyasia is what the Boys and Girls Club stands for,” Coles said. “A lot of kids come here in different states, with a lot of things that they’ve been through, and sometimes they don’t know how to deal with that. It comes out in their actions, and how they treat people in a negative way.

“Niyasia didn’t stay in that place. She decided that she wants to turn her life around and be different.”

Her role as a mentor has surprised some club members that remembered her from her time as a John F. Kennedy Middle School student, she said. Her determination and drive has led her to become a role model in the club.

She hopes to continue her successes after graduation by pursuing a major in business management and a minor in fashion design at Norfolk State University.

“I just put my all into whatever I do,” she said.

The Suffolk Unit of the Boys and Girls Clubs is housed at John F. Kennedy Middle School but accepts students from all over the city. It provides a safe place for students to stay after school until 8 p.m. as well as all day during the summer, and club members get food, structured activities, homework help, mentoring, special programs and more while they are at the club.

For more information on the clubs, visit bgcseva.org.