High school junior Daijahnay Canady has been named the Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year for the state of Wisconsin, the highest honor given to a Boys & Girls Club member.
Canady, 16, a sexual assault survivor, will be using the platform to advocate for other young survivors in the midst of the #MeToo movement, according to a Boys and Girls Clubs press release. She earned the Youth of the Year honor by competing against 15 other Boys & Girls Clubs winners from across the state at the competition in Green Bay during March of 2018.
Each year local Clubs select representatives to compete at the state level, with winners advancing to regional and then the national competition. Each competing Club member has to meet academic and community service requirements, write essays, submit letters of endorsement and prepare a three-minute speech. Many Club members use the competition to advocate for issues youth face in their communities, and in Canady’s case, she is using her platform to tie into the #MeToo movement.
“I have made so much positive life progress over the past couple of years, but sharing something as personal as sexual abuse is scary,” Canady said in a statement. “Ultimately, I decided if sharing my story can help other people on their journey to healing, then it is well worth facing down my own fears.”
As the Wisconsin Youth of the Year, Canady has won $1,000 in scholarship money from Milwaukee Youth of the Year sponsor FOX Sports Wisconsin, $10,000 from the Home Team Scholarship and $5,000 from national sponsors Disney and Toyota. She will utilize this scholarship money to work toward her ultimate goal of becoming a criminal prosecutor.
In the last two years at her new school, and as a Club member, Canady has raised her GPA by 79 percent since freshman year. She is the captain of her high school’s mock trial team, and is now being mentored by Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern. She joined a community service program through Boys & Girls Clubs, and is planning the Clubs’ Denim Day event.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Wisconsin serve over 142,000 youth at 158 sites across 46 Wisconsin cities. Collectively, they provide over two million meals and snacks for free each year, and raise a total combined operating budget of $64,337,412. Every dollar invested in Wisconsin Clubs returns $12.42 in earnings and cost-savings to local communities. Their mission is to ensure all young people, especially those who need them the most, can reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.