Fifty-seven Boys & Girls Clubs members and alumni received help for the next step in their lives Thursday.
The students were awarded scholarships during the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands Scholarship Luncheon at the Scott Center in Omaha. The awards included 19 different scholarships from private and public sources.
Juana Mora Valdovinos, Nebraska Youth of the Year and scholarship recipient, shared how being involved in Boys & Girls Club had helped her grow beyond her shyness and develop friendships and social skills.
“More than anything, it gave me community,” she said.
The club — both members and staff — gave her emotional support and a sense of hope, Valdovinos said.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands Scholarship Program is another way the organization helps young people, said Jermaine Jones, vice president of community and scholarship outreach.
“As a North Omaha Boys & Girls Clubs alum, former scholarship recipient and intern, I have a great appreciation for what these types of opportunities can provide our young people,” he said. “Our scholarship program will continue to grow over the next several years, providing substantial financial assistance for our club members pursuing post-secondary education.”
Aaron Davis, owner of Aaron Davis Presentations and member of the 1994 National Champion University of Nebraska football team, was the featured speaker. He advised students to finish what they start and know their friendships from their “fakeships.”
“A friendship is like what firefighters do,” he said. “They’re running into a burning house when everyone else is running out. Who’s running into your life when there are fires burning?”
Focus, Davis told the recipients. Bring honor to your parents.
“They did a lot for me,” he said of his parents. “I’m standing on their shoulders. Scholars, you are standing on someone’s shoulders.”
Students need to have a passion to do their best at something, Davis said. Play to win, he said.
“I never lost a game and then said, ‘gee, that was fun. Let’s do that again,’” he said.
You only get one chance to make your last visit or phone call to an ailing parent or friend, Davis said. Don’t be distracted and put something else ahead of your family.
Life is not fair, Davis said, but you still need to “stop blaming and complaining. Move on to the next play.
“Whose shoulders are you standing on?” he asked. “Honor them.”
Council Bluffs and Carter Lake Boys & Girls Clubs members and alumni awarded scholarships included the following students, awards and programs of study:
- Ryan Bailey, Carter Lake Club, Thomas Jefferson High School. First-year recipient of John & Harriet Wiebe Good Citizen Scholarship. Plans to serve in the National Guard.
- Megan Corey, Carter Lake Club, Thomas Jefferson. Fourth-year recipient of CenturyLink and Officer Kerrie Orozco Memorial scholarships. Studying health sciences at the University of Iowa.
- Abigail Fisher, Council Bluffs Club, Abraham Lincoln High School. Earned degree in social work at Iowa Western Community College, works at Serene Care Hospice.
- Eboni Fisher, Council Bluffs Club, Abraham Lincoln. Third-year recipient of Charles E. & Florence Lakin Scholarship. Earned associate degree in veterinary science at Iowa Western Community College and plans to continue her studies at Iowa State University.
- Jacob Hadan, Carter Lake Club. Earned master’s in education administration at Creighton University.
- Najma Hart, Council Bluffs Club, Thomas Jefferson. First-year recipient of Charles E. & Florence Lakin Scholarship. Plans to study culinary arts at Iowa Western.
- Deziree Kearney, Council Bluffs Club employee, Thomas Jefferson. Fourth-year recipient of Charles E. & Florence Lakin and Metropolitan Community College scholarships. Earned associate degree in medical management at MCC.
- William Kearney, Council Bluffs Club and BGCM IT employee, Thomas Jefferson. Fifth-year recipient of Charles E. & Florence Lakin and MCC scholarships. Graduating with associate degree in information technology.
- Sarah Logan, Council Bluffs Club, Abraham Lincoln. Second-year recipient of Charles E. & Florence Lakin Scholarship. Studying nursing at Iowa Western.
- Taren Newman, Council Bluffs Club, Abraham Lincoln. First-year recipient of Charles E. & Florence Lakin Scholarship. Studying sociology and playing soccer at Hastings College.
- Lorna Puhl, Council Bluffs Club and Camp Nakomis employee, Lewis Central High School. Second-year recipient of A.V. Sorensen and Charles E & Florence Lakin scholarships. Studying psychology at Wartburg College.
- Tony Remmen, Carter Lake Club and Camp Nakomis employee, Thomas Jefferson. First-year recipient of Heider Family Scholarship. Serves in U.S. Army.
- Vanessa Richards, Council Bluffs Club, Thomas Jefferson. First-year recipient of Charles E. & Florence Lakin Scholarship. Studying biology/pre-med at Iowa Western.
- Kyler Rodenburg, Council Bluffs Club, Underwood High School. First-year recipient of Charles E. & Florence Lakin Scholarship. Studying business and playing football at Iowa Western.
- Cameron Schlotfeld, Council Bluffs Club, Bellevue East High School. Seventh-year recipient of Charles E. & Florence Lakin Scholarship. Studies art history at University of Nebraska-Omaha.