Boys and Girls Club of Chattanooga is recognizing Anthony Edwards, 14, as the June Leader of the Month for the club.
The Boys and Girls Club reaches out to inner-city youth in the Highland Park area to keep them safe, active and goal-oriented. During the summer program at Boys and Girls Club of Chattanooga in Highland Park, approximately 170 youth ages 6 to 18 attend daily sessions Monday through Friday. The leaders in the group range from age 14 to 18. Leaders that complete at least 50 volunteer hours by the end of the summer are eligible for a stipend of $200 and a trip to White Water, a theme park in Atlanta.
Anthony is a rising eighth-grader at Hunter Middle School where he plays football and enjoys learning more about science. He plans to enroll in Ooltewah High School in the fall of 2013. After high school, he plans to graduate from a college with a medical degree in order to enter the medical field as a plastic surgeon. He strives to give 110 percent in school in order to achieve, he said.
• How long have you been a member of the Boys and Girls Club? And what first sparked your interest in the club?
"I've been a member since age 5. I came here on my birthday Nov. 17. My cousin came here on Thursdays and brought me here that day. The club had a lot of leaders to make sure kids were safe. This is the safest place in Highland Park."
• What is your role in the Boys and Girls Club?
Anthony said he serves as a team leader in the summer program leading the 12- and 13-year-old age group five days a week. This is his first summer serving in a leadership role. He leads football, basketball, four square and a tips bouncing ball game.
• Why do you choose to give back to the Boys and Girls Club?
"Because they gave so much to me as a child," said Anthony, referring to the club leaders. "I want to pass that on to others."
• What benefit has Boys and Girls Club given you that you want to pass on to others?
"The Boys and Girls Club leaders showed me to push for a higher education, to not act like a fool and to be a leader. I want to show others what to do to accomplish their goals."
• Do you plan to continue to help Boys and Girls Club? In what way?
"I would like to continue to give back," said Anthony, adding that he plans to volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club through his high school years. "Anything I don't use I want to donate to the club. I would like to donate books, card games, controllers for XBox and video games. Instead of letting things sit around the house, I can bring it here for the kids. I'm always looking forward to giving back and helping other people other than myself."
• Why should other youth become involved in Boys and Girls Club?
"They should come to join the Keystone Club and the Leadership Program. Boys and Girls Club leaders show you how to overcome obstacles in life. The club shows you how to avoid bankruptcy by buying what you need and not what you want, how to plant a garden to grow food and how to start a savings account."