Regarded as the Boys and Girls Club’s most premier recognition program for Club members, the accolade of “Youth of the Year” recognizes the service to Club, community and family; academic success; strong moral character; life goals; and poise and public speaking ability. As challenging as the selection process proves to be, this year’s Collier County recipient of the award exemplifies each of the requisites, breaking barriers every step of the way.
Immokalee High School Senior Islande Victorin, humbled by the distinguished recognition, first joined the Immokalee Boys & Girls Club six years ago, after having just arrived from Haiti. New to the country as well as the language, Islande was conscious of her accent, but explained that her confidence flourished after participating in the club’s manners program facilitated by Tasheekia Perry founder of the Crowning Daughters for Success Enrichment Program. Islande credits the program for helping her enhance her communication and etiquette capabilities, while teaching her how to carry herself as a young lady. The experience, as she explains, catapulted her motivation to succeed, and her club allowed her the opportunities to grow. “At my Boys & Girls Club, I am inspired to gain knowledge and skills that I need to be the young leader that I am destined to be.”
Currently, Islande works afterschool for the Guadalupe Tutor Corps and serves as the secretary for her church youth group. While she acknowledges that her afterschool job takes up much of her time, she always finds the time to visit the Boys and Girls Club’s Immokalee Bolch Campus to volunteer a couple of times a week. “I have always had a passion for helping people” explains the eighteen year old stellar student. This benevolent aspiration will take her far as she ventures on to Acadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania upon graduation. Seeking a degree in Psychology, Islande aims to one day, make a lasting impact on children all over the world.
Unit Director at the Immokalee Bolch Campus, Julian Morgan describes Islande as “a great example of perseverance” citing her triumphs with learning English and her academic success. Islande is dual enrolled at Florida Southwestern University and Florida Gulf Coast University, as well as Immokalee Technical College where she is thrilled to be earning her CDA in Early Childhood Education in the next couple of months. “For her to have gone this far, she is a true inspiration to the community.” adds Morgan.
As the Collier County Youth of the Year winner, Islande will represent her local sister campuses at the State of Florida Youth of the Year Celebration in April. If she is successful at this level, she will advance to the regional and national celebrations. The National Youth of the Year, serves as an ambassador for the Boys & Girls Club as well as a voice for the more than 4 million youth served by Boys and Girls Clubs each year. Vocal about her own hopes for Immokalee’s children, Islande encourages her peers and community youth to “work hard, every step of the way. Anything is possible if you live today for a better tomorrow.”
For more information of how you can support your local Boys and Girls Club please contact the Immokalee Bolch Campus at 239 (675-7003).