The Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows is proud to announce the 2015 Youth of the Year: Nikita Cleveland! Nikita first joined the Boys & Girls Club when she was six years old. Her bubbly personality and endearing smile helped her connect with friends and staff quickly, and it wasn’t long before she was one of the Club regulars.
Nikita was raised primarily by her single dad, and she credits the Club with helping her in areas where her dad couldn’t. Programs like SMART Girls and Girls Circle were particularly special to Nikita growing up. “I loved to be able to open up about what was going on in my life and have staff and my friends there who understood and could help me,” she said.
She also identifies the Club as the start of responsibility in her life. “In Torch Club, we would do different service projects around the Club. I didn’t have a lot of responsibility back then, and Torch Club was the beginning of that. I liked having a job to do and felt important knowing that my Club needed me.”
Today, Nikita attends the Teen Center site at Hug High School. She still comes to the Club almost every day, not only to find support, but to give it as a leader and mentor among her peers. Nikita will graduate from Hug High with an advanced diploma in June, and this fall she will attend college where she plans to become a dental hygienist.
As Youth of the Year, Nikita will head to the Nevada State Youth of the Year competition on February 11 where she will compete against youth from four other Nevada Boys & Girls Clubs. The winner of the State competition will go on to the Pacific Region competition in Southern California, and then to the National competition in Washington, DC.
Nikita is very excited at the possibilities ahead. “Being Youth of the Year is the highest accomplishment I have received in my life so far. I’m thankful for this chance and am thankful that I came this far.”