LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — There are a lot of parents who will tell you their teenager is the best. But does your teen have the trophy to prove it? 13 Action News anchor Tricia Kean introduces you to a special young man who's become a role model to others in his community.
HE'S A LEADER
"He really has his own mind. He's a leader. He's not a follower," says proud local mom, Lanita White.
Her 17-year-old son Damari is the 2021 Nevada State Boys & Girls Clubs: Youth of the Year. Growing up in Detroit she says, Damari was never one to walk the wrong path but was always looking to better himself.
RISE ABOVE IT
"You rise above it. Instead of being a product of your environment, you evolve above it and just try to encourage everyone else to rise above it," says White.
She moved her family to Las Vegas about five years ago. When Damari first started coming to the Boys & Girls Clubs, he was the strong but silent type.
"What you see today is not what walked through the doors," says President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada Andy Bischel.
He credits Damari's mom and the staff at the Boulder Highway Clubhouse with helping mold Damari into the person he is today.
"He is a mature, focused individual and that wasn't there before," says Bischel.
"A lot of people were like, oh he's very distant. He doesn't like talking much. But I grew out of that eventually," says Damari.
Just a little time with Damari and you quickly see how this young man has taken up a leadership role among his peers: serving as Keystone President and leading teen programs like Money Matters and Career Launch. It's clear to see, Damari loves his experience with the club.
"They actually teach you and they actually help you and give you life skills," says Damari.
Damari says he makes it his job to make sure others have the same great experience.
PEOPLE YOU CAN TRUST
"I just try to make them feel as comfortable as possible because one of my main things was trust issues. The organization, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada has a lot of people you can genuinely trust," says Damari.
Damari is clearly passing on his love for the club to others, and that's partly what helped him earn the title of Nevada's Youth of the Year. Now he goes up against winners from other states and hopefully on to compete for the title of National Youth of the Year. Each step in the process earning Damari a scholarship.
After he graduates from Chaparral High School, Damari plans to attend Mayville State University where he'll study journalism and communications.
"I want to travel and learn about new cultures and learn how they operate so I can bring it back and share stories," says Damari.
PROVE YOU WRONG
Damari says he also hopes to be an author and write books. He's not limiting himself when it comes to all the possibilities the future can offer.
"I strive off of diversity. I love when people say, I can't do it. Because it just makes me want to prove you wrong even more," says Damari.