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Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Indianapolis celebrates student leaders

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From missing out on rites of passage such as prom and homecoming football games to adapting to virtual learning, Indianapolis students have given up a lot.

That’s why Maggie Lewis, CEO of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Indianapolis, knew it was important to recognize students. 

“We always hear about the ‘bad’ things are our kids do,” Lewis said. “We wanted to focus on the good things they do. With everything going on, the conversations around equity and criminal justice reform, we felt it was important that we paused to celebrate our club.”

The 2020 Youth of the Year award ceremony, hosted by the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, was held virtually Nov. 11. Adriannah Dehoney, a senior at Ben Davis High School, was selected as the 2020-21 Youth of the Year for Indianapolis clubs. The Youth of the Year award recognizes children for contributions to their family, school, community and club.

Dehoney has been involved in the LeGore Boy’s and Girl’s Club for 13 years. During that time, she’s been involved with various programming and helped younger children through tutoring. 

“The club really helped me get out of my shell,” Dehoney said. “I used to be really quiet and a loner, and I used to highly dislike being around the kids. But I opened myself up to being more aware, and I like being around the kids and helping them now.”

While Lewis wasn’t involved in selecting the Youth of the Year recipient because she thinks all of the kids are great, she was impressed by what she heard about Dehoney.

“I heard great things about her grades, her commitment to programming at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, her character, and she presented very well in her interview,” Lewis said.

Dehoney’s community involvement goes beyond her work at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club. For years, she’s worked with children with special needs and currently works as activities assistant at Washington Healthcare. She’s a softball player who recently signed to Marian University, where she plans to study nursing and eventually become a pediatric nurse. 

“This [recognition] means a lot to me,” Dehoney said. “It shows all of my hard work at the club, and tutoring and programming pays off, and it helps to show other kids that they can follow in my footsteps.”

After being named Youth of the Year for Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Indianapolis, Dehoney is now a nominee for Youth of the Year for the entire state of Indiana. Because of the pandemic, it’s hard to say when that ceremony will take place, but organizers say they’re planning it for this spring.

Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.

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