Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis recently named Herbert Hoover Club member Ja’Niyah Banks-Ewing the winner of the 2021 Youth of the Year, the organization’s highest honor as part of a signature national youth recognition program that celebrates the recipient’s contributions to family, school, community and Boys & Girls Clubs. Banks-Ewing received the Michael & Wanda DeHaven $5,000 Scholarship, the Missouri State University Youth of the Year renewable $4,000 scholarship, a celebratory dinner courtesy of the Saint Louis Club and a car provided by Frank Leta Honda.
Teen Center of Excellence member Diondre Fulton, as the second-place winner, received a $2,500 Emerson Scholarship; Adams Park Club member Triniti Groves, as the third-place winner, received a $1,000 scholarship; and Teen Center of Excellence member Troy Staten, as the fourth-place winner, received a $500 scholarship.
The announcement came at the reimagined Great Futures Gala, the organization’s largest fundraising event. That outdoor ’70s-themed drive-in tailgate bash raised $450,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis. The gala committee included co-chairs Lorenzo and Sheila Boyd, Matt and Linda Renner and Brad and Michele Sowers. Sponsoring the event were the Emerson Foundation, the Centene Charitable Foundation, Express Scripts, Stifel, the Renners and the Sowerses.
“The Youth of the Year program honors our nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed and inspire,” Flint Fowler, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis president, said in a statement. “All of the honorees are shining examples and living proof that great futures start at the Boys & Girls Clubs. We are so proud of all of this year's participants who took the time to complete a challenging, yet worthwhile, process. All possess the ability and ambition to be successful and should be recognized for their leadership, service, academic achievements and commitment to live a healthy lifestyle.”