Tamara Thomas, a senior honor student at Cleveland’s Washington Park Environmental Studies Academy, has been named Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland’s 2018 Youth of the Year.
Tamara, a six-year member of the Broadway Club, received the honor at March 9th Breakfast of Champions. Other finalists were Mercedes Klouda, a four-year member of the Heights Youth Club and a senior at Cleveland’s John Hay High School; Danesha McKinney, a King Kennedy Club member and a junior at Jane Addams Business Careers Center; Nakayla Reynolds, a senior at John Adams High School and two-year member of the teen center there; and Neallyn Vega, a senior at Lincoln West High School who has belonged to the Clubs since age 6.
Mercedes finished second and Danesha third in the competition. All three placers will receive scholarships from Cleveland Indians Charities. Tamara also received a scholarship from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland’s Women’s Board and a laptop computer courtesy of Spectrum Reach.
Tamara, who plans to study at Howard University with a career goal of becoming an international lawyer, now moves onto state competition.
“I love being here at the Boys & Girls Club,” Tamara told the audience at Friday’s breakfast. “It has given me the opportunity to do things that I would otherwise not have been able to experience.”
Last year, Tamara had an internship with the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Legal Academy at Case Western Reserve University, where she participated in a mock trial, shadowed lawyers and judges and took law classes. Her volunteer work has included participating in service projects with the Club, founding a community giveaway at Greater United
Church of God and Christ and organizing a “Stop the Hate” walk at her school.
At today’s event, Third Federal Savings and Loan Chairman and CEO Marc A. Stefanski was honored as BGCC’s Youth Champion of the Year for his support of youth development, education and housing initiatives. The master of ceremonies was Cleveland.com’s Leila Atassi. Breakfast sponsors were First National Bank and Medical Mutual.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland provides safe, fun places for kids ages 6-18 after school with programming centered on promoting healthy lifestyles, academic achievement and character development. Each day, about 1,000 kids go to Clubs in Cleveland and Cleveland Heights.