We are honored to announce Barden Taylor has been named the Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of Saline County. The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. Now in its 70th year, 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. Braden will go on to vie for the Arkansas Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Braden started coming to the Club when he was in sixth grade. He was very shy and would only talk to the staff. He spent most of his time picking up trash and helping in any way he could. He credits getting out of his shell to a special staff member, Mrs. Best. She saw him picking up trash one day and invited him into her classroom. Braden liked being in the classroom because it was away from the chaos outside the door and he would not be noticed. He still remembers that day as if it was yesterday. “I had only one single goal, to be Mrs. Best’s helper. This would guarantee me a job for the remainder of the day. I waited patiently and when I thought that Mrs. Best would be there I made my move. I quickly walked to the back room and looked in; the other helper was already there. Mrs. Best called me in the room anyway. I slowly walked in and sat at the chair she gestured at. This first day was critical in my world. Here is where it all started, the first hellos to other members, the first eye contact with kids bigger than me.”
Braden now works for the Club and continues to be an important piece of the Club puzzle. “I am privileged to say that I am friends with the mentors that I gr