April 2014 Youth of the Month Announcements

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Wichita Falls is proud to announce February Youths of the Month. Rihanna Brooks, of the Northwest Branch, has been selected as the Kiwanis Club of Wichita Falls Youth of the Month. Damryiona Polk, of the Northwest Branch, has been selected as the Optimist Club of Wichita Falls Youth of the Month. Derek Neal, of the Northeast Branch, has been selected as the Rotary Club of Wichita Falls Youth of the Month.

Service clubs sponsor three age divisions. Kiwanis Club of Wichita Falls sponsors 6-8 year olds. Optimist of Wichita Falls sponsors 9-11 year olds. Rotary Club of Wichita Falls sponsors 12-18 year olds.
Interviewers Howard Lott (Rotary Club of Wichita Falls) and Ty Graves (Optimist Club of Wichita Falls) considered the following attributes while selecting the City Wide Youths of the Month.

  • Home & Family Involvement
  • Community Contributions
  • Academic Achievements
  • Boys & Girls Club participation
  • Spiritual Values

Nominees for the Kiwanis Division included:

  • De’irre Sumpter, Rosewood Branch
  • K’Aaliyah Mitchell, Northeast Branch
  • Lance Brown, Southeast Branch
  • Mikera Carraway, Central Branch
  • Savannah Lagunas, Southwest Branch
  • *Rihanna Brooks, Northwest Branch

Nominees for the Optimist Division included:

  • Johnny Taylor, Rosewood Branch
  • Andrew Lonon , Northeast Branch
  • *Damryiona Polk , Northwest Branch
  • Sierra Armstrong , Central Branch
  • Ashanti Davis, Southeast Branch
  • Kaylee Taylor, Southwest Branch

Nominees for the Rotary Division included:

  • Jacey Hamilton, Central Branch
  • Kezia Wright, Rosewood Branch
  • *Derek Neal, Northeast Branch
  • Isaiah Rankin, Northwest Branch
  • Mia Wallace, Southeast Branch
  • Michael Ocaziones, Southwest Branch

Generous sponsors include: Taco Casa and Times/Record News

Rihana BrooksRihanna Brooks is the 6 year old daughter of Thomas Brooks/ Jaretta Underdue. She attends the Northwest Branch where Mr. Jerry Taylor is Club Director.

Rihanna has two brothers ages 9 and 13. Rihanna is very helpful around the house and enjoys helping her mom with baking in the kitchen. Additional duties include keeping her toys picked up and put away, taking care of the family dog “Roxy”, and taking out the trash twice a week.

Rihanna is proudly maintaining all A’s on her report card as a kindergarten student at Kate Haynes Elementary. Her favorite class is Art because she enjoys painting and doing special projects. She says, “I like learning!”

Rihanna has been attending the Northwest Branch for the past six months. She enjoys participating in Healthy Habits and drawing and coloring in the Learning Center while at the Club.

Assistant Branch Director Joycelyn Downing said, “Rihanna lights up the room with her smile and is always sweet and respectful.”

Damryionna PolkDamryionna is the 10 year old daughter of Twyilia Ducre. She attends the Northwest Branch of the Boys & Girls Club where Mr. Jerry Taylor is Director.

Damryionna has one brother who is 6 and a sister who is 5 years old. She helps her mom keep up with both kids. She also helps with kitchen duties includes such as helping to prepare meals, cleaning up afterwards, washing dishes, and putting things away afterward. The family has two dogs which Damryiona takes care of feeding and watering in addition to walking them daily! She also sees that the trash is put out for pick up.

Damryiona has attended the House of Empowerment for four years. She takes the bus every Sunday. She is a member of the children’s’ choir, Sunday school, and helps weekly in the Church’s nursery!

As a 4th grader at Kate Burgess Elementary School, Damryiona maintains an A/B average. Science is her favorite subject because she enjoys doing experiments. She is a member of the honor choir and serves as a representative for the Student Council. She hopes to become an engineer/designer in communications field someday.

Damryiona has been a dependable Boys & Girls Club member for the past two years and is active in a variety of programs and activities. Her favorite past time is participating in the Arts and Crafts Program where she unleashes her creative talents through painting. She had two pieces exhibited at the Museum of Art at Midwestern State University this year! Other programs that Damryiona enjoys include Smart Girls, Reading, Triple Play Challenges in the gym, and swimming at the Central Branch.

Assistant Director Joycelyn Downing said, “Damryiona has an excellent smile and is mature well beyond her 10 years!”

Derek NealDerek is now 18 years old.  He is the son of Gray & Debra Neal.

This young man has represented his Northeast Branch Club in the Youth of the Year Program for the past six years! He was selected as City wide YOY two of those years. He represented the Boys & Girls Club at the 2012 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp.

Derek has a very strong moral character. As a member of 1st Baptist for the past 13 years, he has been very active in serving others as a volunteer. Some of the agencies that have benefitted from his leadership include the Youth Opportunities Center, several churches in Oklahoma and Colorado as part of the Big Help Program, the Rock, Teens Make a Difference Day, Wichita Falls County Health Department, and Race for the Cure.

Derek was so helpful and dependable at the Northeast Boys & Girls Club that they decided to pay him for all that he does in helping others. He is now on staff and works in the games room at the Club answering the phone and greeting new members and parents. He gives frequent tours and shares his experiences with new club kids.

Derek has decided that he wants to work with youth in a Christian environment as he pursues a degree in ministry.

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About Craig Buckmore

I started with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wichita Falls in November of 2000. At the time I had not worked for a non-profit and the organization had no formal IT plan. During my time with the organization, I have learned a lot about the non-profit sector and created a formal plan and direction for the organization. I have been working to create new ways to keep the members engaged with the organization leveraging existing and in some cases technology under development all while keeping costs as low as possible. I enjoy working with all aspects of technology from hardware, software, programming, team building, training, professional networking, and systems engineering. I am not a specialist in any one discipline but focus on finding or building technologies to further the organization while keeping the larger picture in mind. To that end, I never see an IT system as static but ever evolving and always in need of improvement.