Cleveland Heights teen named HYC's Youth of the Year
Diamond Reese has been recognized as Heights Youth Club’s (HYC) Youth of the Year, the highest honor a club member can receive. Reese was nominated because of her leadership and involvement in the community.
Reese, a senior at Horizon Science Academy, plans to attend Cleveland State University in the fall. Her journey to college wasn’t easy. In first grade, Reese was tested for dyslexia after struggling with reading. This proved to be a turning point in her life, she recalled.
“Teachers didn’t want me in their classrooms. Kids called me names and bullied me,” Reese said. “My mother transferred me to a different school every year, trying desperately to get me the help I needed.”
Reese credits HYC with bringing out her personality and reducing her shyness. “I found comfort, support and acceptance,” she said. “It’s like my home away from home.”
The club encouraged her to speak out, even in front of large groups of people, and to take on leadership roles. Today, Reese is vice president of the club’s Keystone/Young Moguls group, and is also a representative for UPS Road Code, a safe driving program for teens.
Reese is an environmentalist, Bible study teacher and JROTC member. In 2011 Reese went door-to-door, collecting signatures and registering individuals to vote. Her community volunteer hours total more than 220 in the past year.
Cleveland Heights Mayor Ed Kelley said, “Diamond Reese is an intelligent, trustworthy, responsible and hardworking young woman of high moral character.”
The Heights Youth Club is one of five freestanding clubs and six school-based clubs that belong to the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland, the local chapter of the national Boys & Girls Clubs of America. HYC has almost 600 members.
Each of the Cleveland member clubs names its own Youth of the Year, and these become nominees for the Cleveland Clubs’ Youth of the Year honor. Reese placed second in that competition and won a $1,500 scholarship.
Lauren Foley is the community relations manager for the Heights Youth Club.