Character & Citizenshship

Targeted programs, such as Youth of the YearTorch Club and Community Service, empower youth to support and influence the Club and community, sustain meaningful relationships with others, develop a positive self-image, participate in the democratic process and respect their own and others' cultural identities.


Kiana Knolland - Wichita, KS
2013-2014 National Youth of the Year

“The Boys & Girls Club has been an integral part of my life. I am honored to represent an organization that has had such a tremendous impact on my character and wellbeing.”
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Local Youth of the Year Winners

KENNEDY FELICE, Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan’s 2014 Youth of the Year.

Kennedy is a senior at Manhattan High School, and has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club since 2010, when her family moved to Manhattan. 

As a Club member, she has been a volunteer and junior staff member, continuously dedicating herself to serving the Club and her community.  Kennedy excels in her studies while maintaining her involvement in a variety of activities and school-sponsored organizations.  With a passion for the written word and the arts, Kennedy is an editor for her high school yearbook and newspaper, and involved in school plays and musicals.  She is interested in pursuing a career as a college drama professor.



2013 - Peyton Peterson

Peyton has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan since 2005.  As a freshman at Manhattan High School, Peyton is involved in many activities.  Even though Peyton has encountered many struggles in his life, he doesn’t let that stop his determination for being successful in high school to eventually graduating from college with a Genetic Engineering degree.

At an early age, Peyton was diagnosed with SMA Type 2 (Spinal Muscular Atrophy), which means the deterring of the large muscles.  The diagnosis was difficult for his family to handle so, his dad left.  His mom did the best she could but turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism which eventually caused her to lose her parenting rights.  This was when Peyton was taken in by Kelly Carmody, a Boys & Girls Club staff member, who became his foster parent.  Through all of this, Peyton views the Club as a family because over the years it was the one place that made him feel safe and somewhere he could be himself.  


2012 - Mikeala Robinson

Boys & Girls Club has been a very important part of my life since I was 6 years old.  I feel that the Boys & Girls Club has helped me to become a better person and has significantly improved my life.  The Club means a lot to me because it gave me an opportunity to make friends, have fun and learn skills that I can use later in life.

Teen Night keeps me busy with fun activities, like bowling at the union, skating in Junction City, and Movie Night at Seth Child Theatre. I enjoy Teen Night because it gives me a chance to travel and experience new and fun activities throughout Kansas. The other Club programs do the same.  They keep me out of trouble and busy during the after-school hours, teaching me important skills, helping me with homework, and keeping me physically active. The staff members not only help me with school work and other after school activities, they have become positive role models in my life.

Boys & Girls Club has helped me to set positive and realistic goals for the future.  I have learned that I should not give up on any of the goals that I set for myself.  The Boys & Girls Club has given me a place to better myself in school as well as a place to have fun.


2011 - Samantha Phillips-Zee

Born on June 3rd, 1998 in Murphysboro, Illinois, Samantha Phillips-Zee has always been a unique and energetic individual.

Samantha was adopted at the age of four, and is one of five children, including two brothers and sisters.  Samantha is currently in the 7th grade at Anthony Middle School.  She enjoys being a student as well as engaging in hobbies outside of school like knitting, biking, skateboarding and camping with her family.

Samantha has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan for three years and has come to see the Boys & Girls Club as a second family.  She attends after-school programs at Anthony Middle School and Teen programs held every Friday night at the Boys & Girls Club’s main facility.

Born on August 14th, 1995 in Winfield, Illinois, Davis Edward Matthews has always been outgoing and energetic. 


2010 - Davis Matthews

Davis, a three-year member of the Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan has always stayed active in not only the club, but school and sports.  Davis is currently a ninth grader at Manhattan High School and attends the East Campus.  During his first year of high school Davis has participated in multiple sports, soccer, wrestling, and track. Davis also plays the trumpet in the Manhattan High School Winds Ensemble and during home football games in the Pep Band and Marching Band. Davis is not only an outstanding athlete, but excels in the classroom, maintaining an above average GPA. Davis has been involved in the gifted program since the 2nd grade.

Davis has been involved in the Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan since his 7th Grade year. He attended both after-school programs at Anthony Middle School and summer Teen Road Trips.    


2009 - Nathan Elder

The Club means a lot to me, as a six-year member. Coming to the Club gives me a place to hang out with my classmates from both Eisenhower and Anthony Middle School. It has helped me grow and become a more mature person. The Club also gives me a chance to hang out with older teens and staff.  Being the oldest in my family, I don’t get much time to do that. The staff has shown me that if I put my mind to something, I can achieve it. They honestly listen to me and what I have to say, even if we don’t agree on the same basketball team. I love KU and they like KSU.  It is a rivalry that is fun and will never go away.

While attending the Boys and Girls Club I have experienced many new things and had many new opportunties. During summer programs we take trips all over the state of Kansas, like touring the Salt Mines of Hutchinson or going to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita.  I have seen many things I would never have had the chance to see without the Club.  I enjoy these trips because it gets me out of the house and keeps me out of trouble. The other Club programs do the same.  They keep me out of trouble and busy during the after-school hours, teaching me important skills, helping me with homework, and keeping me physically active. 


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