ATLANTA - For more than 75 years, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Atlanta has been helping at-risk youth reach their potential. The organization aims to put children and teens on track to graduate on time, live healthy lifestyles and give back to their community. One young member has taken this to heart and has become a mentor to his peers. Brian Ball is the organization’s 2015-2016 Youth of the Year.
“I want to inspire people and for them to understand and know that nothing can stop them from reaching their goals," said Ball in a recent interview with FOX 5’s Ron Gant.
The group recognized leadership potential in Ball early on. Mentors like Rory Johnson encouraged him to take on leadership roles.
“He would put himself in positions to not only learn, but to be challenged and then to give back as well. He has a big heart and great ideas,” said Johnson.
Ball is also a counselor at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Atlanta’s Camp Kiwanis. He’s now a senior at Gwinnett School of Science, Technology and Mathematics taking advanced placement courses. He intends to study film at the University of Wisconsin. He said the club has given him an avenue to explore media arts like photography, music and video. With these he takes on social issues affecting children like teen suicide and school dropout rates. He also tackles issues through spoken word poetry.
“I think it’s important for teens to have their voice heard and spoken-word poetry has done a very good job,” said Ball who says he’s not afraid to take on these issues. “You know, I believe the only way we can make change is to address it…and then go do something about it.”
Ball said he’s thankful for what the Boys and Girls Clubs of Atlanta has done for him and the 3,500 teens and children they serve each day. He’s said they’ve given him a foundation to build upon that he believes will lead to success.
“I can’t really describe how big the club has been in my life. I can only give back and hope that they can do the same thing for someone else.”