This morning at a Congressional Breakfast in Washington, D.C., Kiana Knolland was named BGCA’s 2013-14 National Youth of the Year. The obstacles this young woman has overcome to place herself in this position are nothing less than a testament to her strong character and determination to never give up.
A member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas for 13 years, Kiana credits the Wichita organization for instilling her with the confidence, motivation and work ethic to pursue her life-long dream to become a lawyer. A childhood rife with injustice would cause some kids to distrust the legal profession. But Kiana’s difficult background only strengthened her resolve to attend college and law school.
As a high schoool sophomore, her determination to obtain a quality education was rewarded with a full scholarship to a prominent local private school. That same drive led the local district attorney to mentor Kiana. It also helped her secure one of only 13 paid internships at the state’s largest law firm last summer. Today, she’s taken the next step toward a career in the legal field as a freshman at Howard University.
Congratulations are also due to our National Youth of the Year co-finalists: Regional Youth of the Year representatives Jesse Friedman, Yossymar Rojas, Martha Olang and Meeri Shin; and Military Youth of the Year RaShaan Allen. Each of them have done themselves and their Clubs proud. To learn more about each of these exceptional young people, click here. Look for full coverage of this week's National Youth of the Year events in the next issue of Connections.