In a reception today in Arlington, Va., RaShaan Allen was named Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s first Military Youth of the Year. A member of the BGCA-affiliated Devers Youth Center in Fort Knox, Ky. RaShaan will receive a $20,000 scholarship and serve as BGCA’s youth advocate for military teens.
RaShaan’s an amazing young man. His mother, a member of the U.S. Army, raised RaShaan on her own. With no siblings and his mother often on duty, RaShaan found a second home of sorts at the Center. When Hurricane Katrina struck the southeastern United States in 2005, the Center was there for him.
Just 10 at the time, RaShaan lost his home, neighborhood and school to the devastating natural disaster. Worst of all, he lost his best friend. But his Club would not let him lose what he needed the most: hope. The counsel of caring staff members enabled him to heal and grow after the trauma of Katrina.
He went on to a stellar high school career, where he maintained a 3.3 grade point average. RaShaan also played on no fewer than eight high school teams, earning letters in each and serving as captain for six. A natural leader, he was elected class president his freshman and senior years. He might have been president all four years but he moved away to live with relatives when his mother was deployed to Afghanistan for two years.
Today, he’s a student at Western Kentucky University. His long-term goals are to attend law school and to pursue a career in public service. Congratulations, RaShaan. I look forward to working with you.