National Youth of the Year

YouthPort partner, Boys & Girls Clubs of Cedar Rapids, prepares our community’s school age youth for great futures! One program of many that contributes to their success is the National Youth of the Year program. High School youth prepare a presentation telling about their personal brand including how the Club has impacted them, how they contribute to their community through service learning and their educational achievements. They are connected with a mentor who helps them prepare their personal brand story and coaches them on ways to improve their presentation skills. Club members then compete at the local, state, regional and national levels until a National Youth of the Year is selected in September.

Many Club members have experienced the Youth of the Year program since the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cedar Rapids opened its doors nearly 25 years ago! Two of these youths include Mykala McGraw and Stacey Walker. Last month the Club learned that Mykala McGraw, 2015 Cedar Rapids Youth of the Year, was recently promoted to Petty Officer Third Class Gunners Mate in the Navy! She has been in the Navy since graduating high school in 2015. This promotion came as a complete surprise to her as she was originally scheduled to take the test for the promotion later in September and would have had to wait three months before learning that she was promoted. Due to her hard work, Mykala’s command promoted her automatically.

Then there is Stacey Walker who was chosen as the National Youth of the Year in 2006. As National Youth of the Year, Stacey met former President George W. Bush, traveled all over the United States to promote the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and received a scholarship to help with his college expenses. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Political Science and went on to Washington, D.C. to work in philanthropy for the Stephen & Jean Case Foundation. He also worked for a member of the President’s Council for Jobs and Economic Competitiveness. Stacey has since returned to Iowa and has been involved in numerous political campaigns at the statewide, congressional, and presidential levels. Last November, Stacey was elected as the first African American Linn County Supervisor.

It is exciting for Club staff to see past Club members make an impact not only in our community, but across the nation!