Tarrant County, Texas, February 10, 2020 - When Torion Lewis was 7 years old, she was a shy kid from a single-parent home suffering emotionally following her parent’s recent divorce. Fast-forward 11 years to last Thursday night, and Torion is a confident 18-year-old delivering a moving a speech to more than 300 community leaders about her experience as a member of Boys & Girls Clubs. Shortly afterward, that speech earned her the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant County’s 2020 Youth of the Year.
“The one thing that matters most to me, is investing in youth by raising awareness of organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs. Just like the Club encouraged me, cared for me, and nurtured me, that's what every child should have,” said Torion Lewis, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant county 2020 Youth of the Year. “The Club has given me the utmost inspiration to not only shoot for the moon, but to exceed each and every expectation set by myself and others.”
The Youth of the Year competition is a national program run each year by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence, and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. Now in its 73nd year, the program honors our nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed and inspire. Torion will go on to contend for the Texas State Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from BGCA.
“Torion’s work ethic and demeanor is unmatched,” said Daphne Barlow Stigliano, CEO and President of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant county. “She has participated in over 500 hours of service within her community and Club. We are so proud of her, and we thank her for sharing her story of how the Club made such a positive impact on her life.”
Torion is an all A student out of Seguin High School. During her 11 years as a Club kid, she has served as President for every major Club leadership committee where she has guided other young members in the areas of academic success, career preparation, and community service. She is also a strong advocate of the Club’s T.E.A.M. program, which teaches young girls about their mental and physical health. She continues to be a beacon for other youth as she works toward her goal to become an orthopedic surgeon.
Torion and two other Youth of the Year finalists from Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant County shared their stories at the Youth of the Year Gala on February 6, 2020 at the Fort Worth Club. The annual gala also featured keynote speaker, Lucille O'Neal, Club alumni and mother of Club alumni and basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal. Major sponsors of the event included, BNSF Railway, Baylor Scott & White Orthopedic and Spine Hospital in Arlington, Olympus Property and Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages.
If Torion wins at the state competition, she will compete for the title of Southwest Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C, to compete for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable each year up to $100,000.