COLUMBIA, S.C. (Jan. 23, 2017) — When Jazmine Prince was in elementary school, she was diagnosed with a learning disability after her mother grew concerned about her reading difficulties.
With the hard work and dedication of Jazmine and her mother, and the support of great school teachers and mentors at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands afterschool programs, the Ridge View High School senior is now on a path to mentor and support other young minds.
Selected from a group of outstanding nominees, Jazmine has been named the 2017 Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands Youth of the Year. She will receive a $2,500 college scholarship from Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company. She plans to attend S.C. State University to study art/dance education.
“Boys & Girls Clubs helped me learn how to be a leader and not a follower, and provided the classroom experience I need to become a future teacher,” said Jazmine, who was selected for her sound character, leadership skills and passion for BGCM.
Jazmine started her journey with BGCM in the third grade at Killian Elementary School and continued through the eighth grade at Kelly Mill Middle School. She spent her afternoons in the BGCM program completing homework, and playing indoor and outdoor games. But she also found the afternoon program provided her special instruction when she needed help as well as activities to develop her dance and art.
“They were there to help her and put in the time to help her improve,” said her mother, Lois Prince.
Once she entered high school, Jazmine began volunteering her time helping younger students in the afternoon programs. She now works as a program aide at the Rice Creek Elementary School’s Be Great Academy. Some days, she’s quizzing students on spelling bee words. Other days, it’s working on multiplication tables.
“We could see the greatness inside Jazmine from the first time she came to our program and are honored to have helped her develop into the outstanding young women she has become,” said Carter Clark, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands. “We are so proud of Jazmine for what she has already accomplished in her life and can't wait to see what great things she will do next.”
Miles Johnson, the club’s director of teen services, said Jazmine’s story illustrates the organizations motto: Great Futures Start Here.
“She was already great when she came to us,” Johnson said. “We just gave her opportunities and guidance to discover that truth for her herself.”
This spring , Jazmine will compete against other Boys & Girls Clubs members from across the state to become the South Carolina BGCA Youth of the Year and win additional scholarships.
The Colonial Life scholarship is part of a grant for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands’ Be Great Academy program.
“The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands supports so many children and families across the region,” said Marie McGehee, community relations manager at Colonial Life. “Supporting such a great educational organization that helps young women like Jazmine grow and develop is at the core of our company’s community mission.”