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2 Teen Club Members Spend the Summer Abroad

Ayanna Graham in Ecuador

Ayanna Graham grew up coming to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County since she was 5 years old and now serves as a Junior Program Assistant at the Smith & Moore Family Teen Center in Belle Glade as she attends her first year at Palm Beach State College. To her friends and family Ayanna was always the girl who would capture the moments you never want to forget. Her love for photography began at a very young age and she entered her first photography competition in 8th grade but she didn’t achieve the result she wanted. Ayanna continued to pursue her passion for photography in the Career Bound program at the Smith and Moore Teen Center at the age of 15 advanced training opened her eyes to a whole new world.

 

“After seeing Ayanna’s face light up during photography class and how her photography skills developed,” Miss Andrea Sarcos, Skilled Enrichment Instructor, states, “the Boys & Girls Clubs gifted Ayanna her very own camera to continue to pursue passion.”

In 2021 Ayanna’s work was entered into the National Image Makers Photography contest amongst all Boys & Girls Clubs in America and was awarded Best of Show! This award inspired Ayanna to view the world thru her camera lens and explore other countries abroad so that others could live vicariously thru her images. However, the financial commitment was a burden and made these opportunities impossible until her Career Bound teacher, Miss Andrea, encouraged Ayanna to apply for the Putney Open Door Fund. She was one out of 17 students among 3,000 applicants to receive a full scholarship to study abroad this past summer! Ayanna’s life-changing trip allowed her to explore Ecuador for three weeks, photographing everything from historic monuments to personal selfies.

Ayanna said, “The greatest gift Boys & Girls Clubs has given me was the opportunity to pursue my passion for photography and push me past boundaries I never saw possible.”

Kaleb Rolle in Greece

Kaleb Rolle, our 2022 Florence De George Youth of the Year Winner, has a passion for psychology, which is not surprising given his personal transformation from being a shy and timid first grader when he first joined the Club to evolving as an outgoing, passionate, and authentic teenager that he is today. Kaleb calls the Club his second home, a place where he goes to get help with his homework in the Career Bound Program, studies for his SAT and receives guidance from his teachers. He has been so impacted by his teachers at the Club that Kaleb chose to make an impact of his own by working as a Junior Counselor at the De George Club for the last two summers.

Kaleb’s impact has spread further than the Club itself.  He was handpicked by our Youth of the Year judges to attend the Global Youth Leadership Academy in Greece this past summer! Kaleb said, “Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County is the reason I was able to go on this life-changing trip that has profoundly changed how I look at life.”

Kaleb had the opportunity to explore Greece but what stood out to him the most was the leadership seminars he attended twice daily. During the seminars, Kaleb learned to connect with his emotions, show vulnerability and not be afraid to be authentic.

“Without the Boys & Girls Clubs, Career Bound Program and the Global Youth Leadership Academy, I would not be the person I am today. I am forever grateful for the opportunities I have been given,” said Kaleb.