Shontel Cain follows a busy schedule.
The Fairfield Central High School student is captain of the academic challenge team, vice president of the BETA Club and represented her school at Palmetto Girls State this summer.
But while maintaining a top 10 class ranking, the senior has kept an active schedule with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands the past four years, both as a member and volunteer.
Cain has been named the Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year. The award, presented each year to a club member between ages 14-18, is based on leadership qualities and service exhibited through home and family, moral character, community, school, club service, life goals and obstacles that have been overcome.
“The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens,” said Boys and Girls Club CEO Carter Clark. “It was such a tough decision this year (choosing the Youth of the Year). It came down to four really amazing kids that truly encompass what the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands is all about.”
Cain is a Boys and Girls Club junior staff member and volunteered nearly 500 hours during the past year at the Geiger Elementary club site in Fairfield County. She said her work with the students had improved her self esteem.
“Those children became my mirror and helped me see that I did have value,” Cain said. “For them, I was a positive influence and I had to believe it, because the smiles on their faces told me so.”
As a junior staff member, Cain also helps with training and creating new clubs.
Clark said Cain is a model representative for the Youth of the Year honor.
“Shontel is a prime example of how The Boys & Girls Clubs help all young people understand how great they are and how the programs bring out the greatness within them,” he said. “The impact she has made on our youth will last a lifetime. We are honored to be a part of her journey.”
Cain will enroll in the American University of Paris next fall.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands serves more than 6,000 members in Richland, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington and Newberry counties. The clubs operates 45 clubs, eight summer camps, and a teen center.