The Boys & Girls Clubs of Wichita Falls is proud to announce April Youth of the Month. Ashton Payten, of the Northwest Branch, is the Kiwanis Club of Wichita Falls Youth of the Month. Tobias Oliver, of the Southeast Branch, is the Optimist Club of Wichita Falls Youth of the Month. Jaheem Manuel, of the Northwest Branch, is 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 were Jackie Lebow Jr., representing the Rotary Club of Wichita Falls, and Dr. Keith Lamb, representing the 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:
- Charles Whitlow, Rosewood Branch
- Jakobe Seamster, Northeast Branch
- Ashton Payten, Northwest Branch
- Joceline Guido, Southeast Branch
- Rylie Strain, Southwest Branch
- Isaiah Vasquez, Central Branch
Nominees for the Optimist Division included:
- Dazarean Mitchell, Rosewood Branch
- Christopher Williams, Northeast Branch
- Jenesys Brown, Northwest Branch
- Tobias Oliver, Southeast Branch
- Chloe Valencia, Southwest Branch
- Isay Saldana, Central Branch
Nominees for the Rotary Division included:
- Elijah Williams, Rosewood Branch
- Lawrence Gibson, Northeast Branch
- Jaheem Manuel, Northwest Branch
- Kirianna Rockmore, Southeast Branch
- Lorenzo Boyd, Southwest Branch
Generous sponsors include: Marco’s Pizza and Times/Record News
Ashton Payten is the 7-year-old son of Demetra Pruitt. He attends the Northwest Branch Club where Miss Joycelyn Downing is Assistant Club Director.
Ashton has a two brothers and one sister. He is a big help to his mom with the house work and keeping his room cleaned and pick up. He also helps with the yard and take out the trash.
Ashton attends Bethlehem Baptist Church with his family. He also attends Sunday school and is involved with the youth group activities. Ashton goes to Kate Burgess Elementary and is in the 1st grade. He is proud to be a straight A student and enjoys his Reading class more than any other. He says, “School is important because we learn new thing there.”
As a Boys & Girls Club kid Ashton is always the first person to step out and lead the way. He gets involved in activities and programs all over the Club. Some these include Power Hour Homework Help, Computer Tech, and Reading Programs. In the gym he participates in Triple Play Challenges, Healthy Habits, Swimming, and enjoys interacting with his peers.
Director’s Assistant Joycelyn Downing said, “Ashton is always shining, displaying a great attitude in all areas of the club.”
Tobias Oliver is the 11-year-old son of Tracie Brandon. His home club is the Southeast Branch where Ms. Charlene Donaghey-Vomastek is the Director.
Tobias has two older sisters, ages 23 and 24, as well as two brothers, ages 21 and 29. He does a great job of helping with the household chores and can even be found helping his mom in the kitchen preparing meals and cleaning up afterwards. From time to time he takes out the trash and helps with the laundry.
As a 5th grader at Southern Hills Elementary Tobias is maintaining a 3.5 GPA. His favorite class is Mathematics and he says, “School is important because it teaches us things that will help us get through life!” He is in the school’s choir, safety patrol, and drama club.
Tobias has attended the Club for the last 5 years. He is interested in leadership development thus he is involved in a variety of programs including basketball, football, soccer, and Triple Play Challenges/Healthy Habits. He has produced art work for the Fine Arts Exhibit and Photography Programs. Tobias is a Peer Leader and a Junior Staffer helping his peers whenever needed and is in the Passport to Manhood group club. He intends to be a college football coach and would like to attend Alabama University.
Mount Pleasant Baptist Church is where Tobias goes to Church. He also sings in the church choir.
Director Charlene said, “Tobias has worked very hard to become the Youth of the Month!”
Jaheem Manuel is the 14-year-old son of Sharon Vaughn. He attends the Northwest Branch of Boys & Girls Club where Mr. Jerry Taylor is Branch Director.
Jaheem has attended New Jerusalem Baptist Church for the past seven years. He helps with children’s church, sings in the choir, and is making good choices based on his spiritual up-bringing. Jaheem is involved in Sunday school and the Church’s youth group activities. He volunteers at his mentor’s church in their Community Day Event, Black History Celebration, Sputter Park Day, and has won a Scholarship for his essay on Black Lives Matter.
Jaheem attends Kirby Junior High as an 8th grader. He maintains a better than 3.5 GPA and says English is his favorite subject. He plays the Baritone in the band and is involved in Debate and Oratory as well as participated in UIL Oral Reading Impromptu Speaking. He has participated in the annual WFISD Back to School Program. Jaheem is involved in Track Cross Country and football. He thinks school is important because “It gives you something no man can take away from you; an education!” Jaheem has aspirations to attend Princeton to earn his Ph.D.
When at the Northwest Club, Jaheem is in several group clubs including the Torch Club, Keystone Club, Power Hour, Photography & Fine Arts, Peer Leaders, Junior Staff, Triple Play Healthy Habits / Challenges. He has participated in Passport to Manhood and Reading Programs and has gone to Boys & Girls Club Summer Camp.
Club Director Jerry Taylor says, “Jaheem is a teenager who is striving for excellence in all areas of his life!”