The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Charlotte announced the 2015-16 Youth of the Year today at its annual “Great Futures” breakfast event. Courtni Wallace, a member of the Belmont Avenue Boys & Girls Club and a junior at East Mecklenburg High School was selected. She will go on to compete in the state competition to be eligible for scholarships and additional competitions regionally and nationally.
“Courtni truly exemplifies what the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs aim to instill in its members: academic excellence, leadership and good citizenship,” said Marty Clary, executive director of the Clubs.
Despite a number of challenges, Courtni has maintained excellent grades in the classroom, holding down a 3.7 GPA while working a part-time job and participating in community service projects focused on helping other students.
At a young age, Wallace was faced with an obstacle few others have had to experience, as she was diagnosed with Leukemia. Through fighting this battle, Wallace displayed the courage so many know her for today. “I turned my obstacles into positives and learned from them,” she says.
Wallace has a passion for helping others. She regularly assists younger members with homework and helps with other functions at the Club. One of her favorite activities at the Club is participating in the TORCH club, a group focused primarily on community service projects. This experience ignited her desire to make a positive impact on her community outside of the Club as well, doing various activities such as assisting Hands On Charlotte by going to elementary schools to read to children.
The Youth of the Year announcement took place March 1 at the Great Futures Breakfast at Myers Park Presbyterian Church. The breakfast, sponsored by Duke Energy, is an annual event for advisory council members and their special guests that officially kicks off a dedicated period focused on increasing awareness and support for the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Charlotte. This year’s campaign fundraising goal is $200,000.
During the program, Courtni Wallace spoke to guests about the impact of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs in her life.
“It was at [The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs] that I began to figure out who I was,” she said. ‘It was the place where I became a better person. The Club is a safe environment to take my mind off my troubles. It has helped me academically, physically and emotionally, and allowed me to blossom into the person I am today.”
For more than 80 years, The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Charlotte have been serving at-risk youth in the community, creating a positive environment to help children excel in school and succeed in life. For only $5, school-aged children in Mecklenburg and Union counties can join the Boys & Girls Clubs, which provide a safe, positive, and fun place to spend time after school. The cost of membership is offset by contributions from the community. To donate to the Great Futures campaign, click here.