DuBose earns ‘youth of the year’ honors at BGC

Published 11:00 pm Monday, June 13, 2011

Brittany DuBose, 17-year-old volunteer worker, works long hours at the Boys and Girls Club of Pike and Surrounding Counties and says she enjoys being a positive influence of the children she serves.

That dedication earned the rising senior at Charles Henderson High School the honor of “youth of the year” at the local club. Now, she’s competing for the statewide title.

Pamela Nealey, chief professional officer, said the award celebrates a young person who either overcame enormous odds or demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments.

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“Basically, each club, nationally, participates in this program,” Nealey said. “It starts at the local level first, which Brittany has already won, and now we’re preparing to compete statewide.”

Nealey said she is hopeful that DuBose will win at the state level, as this will be her first time competing.

“After the state competition, there is a regional competition,” Nealey said. “Once you get past regional, then there will be a national-level competition for youth of the year.”

Nealey said DuBose is the first youth of the year from Troy.

DuBose approached the Boys and Girls Club as a volunteer in April and has since gained more than 80 hours of volunteer experience.

“I like being with the kids and helping them out,” DuBose said. “A lot of these children don’t have a great mentor around outside of the Boys and Girls Club. When I was growing up I had a whole army to tell me right from wrong. I felt like, out here, the staff have been great mentors for these kids and I wanted to be a part of that team.”

DuBose said being proactive with the Boys and Girls Club has shown her how to be a leader. “The kids look up to me; I’ve seen it,” DuBose said. “I realized I needed to step my game up.”

DuBose teaches a drama club called, “Drama Matters.”

“When it first started, a lot of kids didn’t know what it was and I told them I was involved with it in high school and then they also wanted to be involved with it,” DuBose said. “When we started, a lot of kids came to me and would ask things like, ‘did I do this right,’ or ‘can I do this,’ and I showed them different aspects of drama. They started saying things like, ‘I want to do it like that.’”

DuBose said the first thing she taught the children was how to talk in a variety of different accents, which she said the children loved.

“After the first day of teaching, the children came to me three days later trying to do the accents they had been working on,” DuBose said.

Nealey said the program DuBose teaches is instrumental in building self-esteem and self-confidence. And DuBose will gain some of the same insights as she prepares for state

“As we prepare for the state competition, she will be doing some public speaking engagements with me and will go around representing the Boys and Girls Club,” Nealey said.

DuBose said she hopes to gain more valuable experience through her work with the children, as she has already been active in extracurricular activities.

“I’m involved with the Drama Club, the Key Club, and I’m in the FCCLA—a culinary club — and this upcoming year I will be in Show Choir,” DuBose said.

DuBose said she knows the value of helping others and aims to “give back” to her local community by being a good role model for children.

Nealey said the youth of the year program adds personal growth to the young man or woman nominated.

“Brittany’s story is a story of overcoming the odds of teen peer pressure,” Nealey said. Nealey said DuBose doesn’t have a “sad” story like many other youths have had, but she has beaten the odds of negative influences so many teens face.

“When other kids are hanging out on the streets, Brittany is here doing three hours of community service,” Nealey said. “She has worked 80 hours in two months, which is a lot for a volunteer position.”