Boys and Girls Club Indian River County
Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County
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Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian River County’s Youth of the Year
wins Southeast Regional Title

Selected among nine outstanding finalists from Boys & Girls Clubs across the region, Raliyah Dawson has been named the Southeast Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). She will receive a $10,000 college scholarship from BGCA renewable for up to four years, leading to a total of $40,000. Dawson was selected as the Southeast Youth of the Year because of her leadership and excellence in and out of school, despite many obstacles.

“Since I was 8 years old, a variety of circumstances have prompted me to become more independent. This has played a significant role in altering my self-esteem,” said Raliyah. “Now I embrace my past, because I accept that it was all for a purpose. Not only did it allow me to become determined and motivated, but for the youth that aren’t as strong as me, it allows me to reach out and confirm to them that there is more to a person than just their past.”

Raliyah is president of her school’s Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) program, plays on the school’s basketball team and serves regularly in the Vero Beach community as president of the Club’s service arm, Keystone Club. She plans to become a nurse practitioner and will attend Florida Gulf Coast University this fall.

“Raliyah has made a major impact in the Club as a whole from the moment she walked through the door,” said Rasheedah Ahmad, teen director assistant at the Vero Beach Boys & Girls Club. “She is a natural born leader and takes authority with her presence. Her enthusiasm to lend a helping hand wherever needed is infectious and one of her greatest attributes.”

This fall, Dawson will travel to Washington D.C. to vie for the National Youth of the Year title, which comes with an additional $100,000 scholarship and the opportunity to serve as a spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of America representing four million Club kids and teens.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian River County’s Youth of the Year
Wins State Title

Raliyah Dawson, Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian River County member, was recently named the Florida Youth of the Year finalist at the state-level competition in Tampa last weekend. She competed against 21 other candidates from Boys & Girls Clubs across Florida. Raliyah was awarded a $5,000 college scholarship and will now advance to the regional competition in Atlanta this June. Regional winners will progress to a weeklong celebration in Washington, D.C., where one is named National Youth of the Year – the highest honor bestowed upon a Club member.

Youth of the Year participants embody the values of leadership, service, academic excellence and healthy lifestyles; they exemplify the critical impact of Boys & Girls Clubs on the lives of young people. Through the Youth of the Year program, young people showcase their talents and achievements, share their hopes and dreams, and work toward a bright and positive future. Candidates emerge through year-round recognitions programs in their local Clubs.

Although the journey to being named National Youth of the Year begins locally and progresses to state, regional and national levels, Raliyah’s journey began the first day she walked through the Boys & Girls Clubs doors in Vero Beach and found supportive mentors, quality programming and a positive atmosphere. She states, “Coming to the Boys & Girls Club has helped improve my attitude and my drive to succeed in life.” That drive has helped Raliyah become a Vero Beach High School honor student with a 4.294 GPA, track and basketball athlete, president of the Keystone and HOSA Clubs and a Certified Nursing Assistant. She plans on attending Florida Gulf Coast University in the fall to study nursing to become a Nurse Practitioner.  

“They always say that it takes a village to raise a child, and the Boys & Girls Club has been my village,” states Raliyah. “God, my mother, and the Club have helped mold me into who I am today, and I am proud that I can say that WE made it. I could never repay them for all they’ve done, but I owe it to them to never give up when things get hard, and to never stop believing in my dreams.”


Boys & Girls Club
     Vero Beach

1729 17th Ave.
Vero Beach, FL  32960
(772) 299-7494


Boys & Girls Club 

1415 Friendship Lane
Sebastian, FL 32958
(772) 388-4944


Boys & Girls Club

22 S. Orange St.
Fellsmere, FL 32948
(772) 571-0810



Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County