Youth of the Year named by Heights Youth Center
You would be impressed, as I was, to meet Clayton Harris, this year’s Youth of the Year at the Heights Youth Club.
Sound character, leadership and the willingness to serve are the qualities that make a Youth of the Year; qualities young people need in order to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.
Seventeen-year-old Clayton, a senior from Cleveland Heights High School, has been attending the HYC since it opened in 2007. Back then, he thought the brick building with the white steeple at Lee Road and Washington Boulevard was a church, but a friend mentioned that the space had been converted into a great place for kids.
Clayton had been a good student, but had nothing interesting to do after school. He’d walk around with his friends, wasting time, before going home. Once at the club, which is operated by the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland, Clayton reveled in participating in its myriad programs, including ballroom dancing. Basketball is a particular passion of his and he always participates in the league. The day I met with him he was boarding the bus for a game at the Broadway Boys and Girls Club. HYC helped him secure jobs with the City of Cleveland Heights, raking leaves and shoveling sidewalks for elderly residents as well as providing day care in the summer.
Clayton’s current goal is to graduate from college with a degree in pharmacology and become a pharmacist like his older sister. He also wants to meet new people, try new activities and travel around the world.
Congratulations to Clayton, his mother Beatrice Dues, his six siblings and the staff at the HYC for being part of helping one of Cleveland Heights’ top kids look forward to a bright future.
Let’s also root for Clayton to compete successfully in the next rounds of Boys and Girls Club awards: State Youth of the Year, regional finalist, and National Youth of the Year.
Renie Smith is a founding member and secretary of the Heights Youth Club.