Lakes High School freshman named JBLM Youth of the Year

Jasmine Meredith is a "go-to" person

By Melanie Casey on February 4, 2014

Jasmine Meredith spends nearly every afternoon working at the Teen Zone on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. But the Lakes High School freshman,14, doesn't get paid - she does it all as a volunteer.

For her dedication to volunteering and efforts last year, Jasmine was recently selected as the 2014 Boys and Girls Club of America JBLM Youth of the Year. 

"She's always participating," said JBLM Middle School Teen Lead Coordinator Ashley Winkle. "She's our go-to girl. She's very involved."

In 1991, BGCA partnered with the U.S. Armed Forces "to help children of military families face the unique challenges of military life," according to its website. Since then, more than 500 Youth Centers on military bases worldwide have provided more than 460,000 military youth with the same programs and curriculums available at other Boys and Girls Clubs.

The Military Youth of the Year is a component of the Boys and Girls Club's National Youth of the Year program, and "recognizes a club member served on a military installation who has overcome enormous odds and demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments."

Of the seven JBLM youths ages 14-18 who submitted applications for the 2013 JBLM YOY, Jasmine stood out. Organizers were looking for an applicant "who was very involved with the teen program," Winkle said, and with Jasmine, they found it: She logged more than 180 volunteer hours last year, assisted with all public events and participated on teen panels that helped plan events. 

The application process included answering a questionnaire and then sitting before a panel, which took place in December. Though she was nervous at first, "they were all questions I knew the answers to," Jasmine said.

Three days after her interview, she got the call that she was the winner.

Jasmine has lived in the area since she was very young, she said. Her parents, both retired military, live in Lakewood and Lacey. She first became interested in volunteering when she was in the sixth grade and worked as the treasurer for the Torch Club at her school. She does it as a way to help "give back to kids and the community," she said.  

This was her first year applying for an award.

"I decided to give it a shot," she said. "I'm always here, and I always volunteer."

Jasmine will now move forward to compete in state and, hopefully, regional competitions.  The Military Youth of the Year is announced in September, and he or she then "advances to join the five regional YOY finalists from traditional clubs to compete for the National Youth of the Year title."

Last year, JBLM's Jershika Maple, 16, brought home the title of Washington's first-ever Military Youth of the Year.

Established in 1947, the BGCA Youth of the Year (YOY) competition is the club's "premiere recognition program." When selecting a winner, organizers look for a commitment to service to the club, community and family, academic success, a strong moral character, life goals and poise and public speaking ability.

"I feel very honored," Jasmine said of the accolade. "I get recognized for stuff I do every day."

For more information about Boys and Girls Clubs of America, visit