Ebony Gadson and Jaala Smith, member and staffer, respectively, of the Boys & Girls Club of Bluffton have earned places in the regional spotlight.
On May 1, Gadson, 16, was named the Boys & Girls Club 2015 South Carolina Youth of the Year. She had been first named the Bluffton club’s Youth of the Year and then the Lowcountry Youth of the Year in March.
A member of the Bluffton club for the past seven years, Gadson competed against eight candidates from across the state and will represent South Carolina in the Southeast Regional Youth of the Year event in June.
She is a junior at Bluffton High School. She is the daughter of Lekesha Gadson and sister of Sheree Williams, 21, and Rashad Gadson, 12.
Gadson received a $5,000 scholarship for being selected S.C. Youth of the Year. She plans to graduate from Bluffton High School in 2016 and go on to attend Howard University majoring in business and finance. Gadson currently ranks in the top 15 percent of her class.
In April, Smith was honored with the 2015 Debra Williams Clark Spirit of Keystone award at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 48th annual Keystone Youth Conference in Orlando, Fla.
The Bluffton Club’s program coordinator was recognized in front of 1,500 teens for her work as one of the country’s top advisors for the Boys & Girls Club of America’s Keystone program that provides character and leadership development opportunities.
Five advisors from across the country were recognized and Smith was the recipient for the Southeast region.
Smith began volunteering with the Bluffton Club in 1998 at the age of 14.