D’Kayln Morris started attending the Paulding County Boys & Girls Club when she was 6 years old, after moving to the community with her mother and sister. As a younger member of the Club, she remembers an initial sense of loneliness, which was quickly put to rest by the kindness of Ms. Jones and Ms. Shonda, two staff members who, she says, “checked in on me and helped me” as a new member of the Club.
At the Club, she is actively involved in a range of activities, including sports and CareerBound, BCGMA’s workforce readiness program for teens. She’s also helped plant the Club garden, and has organized a canned food drive through the Club. She also participates in a group for teen girls, Global Girls, through which she and her peers discuss issues facing them as girls and young women. At the Club, she enjoys her friends, a break from school, and all of the activities in which she can participate.
As a 10th grader at Paulding County High School, D’Kalyn is involved in numerous activities: she’s in the marching band, among other things, having played the clarinet since 6th grade. An avid reader, she particularly enjoys her English classes. When D’Kalyn graduates, she plans on attending college to focus on psychology and graphic design. She says, “I give good advice and have good perspective,” two qualities that are useful for aspiring psychologists and designers alike.
D’Kalyn believes, like many of her peers, that teens have a lot to offer the world: quoting Gandhi, she says “You need to be the change you want to see in the world. You can’t sit around and wait. This gives the world a wake-up call, and shows that we understand things too!” One current issue about which she feels particularly passionate is gender equality and equal pay: I can do the same thing as a man, she says, and the pay should reflect this fact.
D’Kalyn is passionate, and, as she notes, compassionate and kind—two qualities she got from her mom and sister, she says. Her BGCMA family knows she will change the world, and truly exemplifies what it means to be a Youth of the Year.