Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County 2022 Youth of the Year Competition
By: Jarret Romanello, email@example.com
Photos by: Marisol’s Photography & The Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County
February 26, 2022
With an estimated 7.7 million children ages 6-17 suffering from a mental health disorder in our country, the Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County 2022 Youth of the Year is using her influence to normalize discussions on the topic and bring awareness to the disorders plaguing one in six kids.
Last week, Lincoln Park Academy Junior Mia Morrison won the prestigious honor of being selected as Youth of the Year in front of her family, peers, and community leaders at Westside Church in Fort Pierce.
Morrison was abused as a child and suffered from PTSD, depression, and nightmares. She was unwilling to talk about her experiences until she joined the Boys and Girls Clubs. “When I joined the Club, I finally began to trust others,” Morrison said.
That’s because the Boys and Girls Club staff helped her develop a healthy mindset by teaching her to use her experiences to help others. They protected her, mentored her, and helped her uncover the truth about mental health. “The Boys and Girls Club helped me find my life, so I am going to help others find theirs.”
Morrison believes if we train people on mental health and counseling, implement resources for kids as early as elementary school, and allow for events and talks about the subject, we can be a starting block for change. “Together, we can make a change for mental health,” Morrison said.
The Youth of the Year Competition is a program that develops Club Kids into future leaders. Morrison was one of four finalists judged on their public speaking, writing, and character. Boys and Girls Club Staff guide the kids throughout the process, even teaching them how to network and dress for success. “When I first came to Boys and Girls Club, I was a completely different person, but all the opportunities they’ve given me have made me into a successful person today,” Morrison said.
Because people who have a mental illness are often stigmatized, Morrison thought she could never speak up about her experiences. As Youth of the Year, she’s now ready to help others like the Boys and Girls Club helped her. “Mental Health is a crucial issue in America, anyone can be affected by it, and everyone can make a change,” Morrison said.