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Hailey Forrester named Harford and Cecil Boys & Girls Club 2020 Youth of the Year

Hailey Forrester is the 2020 Youth of the Year award winner for the The Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford and Cecil Counties.
Hailey Forrester is the 2020 Youth of the Year award winner for the The Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford and Cecil Counties. (Courtesy of The Boys & Girls Club of Harford and Cecil Counties)

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford and Cecil counties proudly announced the winner of the Youth of the Year award is Hailey Forrester of the Aberdeen Club.

The award was presented at the nonprofit’s first Virtual Youth Celebration Dinner, honoring Harford and Cecil county youth. The virtual event brought in over 1,500 online viewers.

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Forrester, a 16-year-old sophomore at Harford Technical High School, gave a moving speech at the Virtual Youth Celebration Dinner and discussed the safe, welcoming, and second home she found at the clubs. Forrester has been an active Aberdeen Club member for eight years and recently became a junior staff member.

During her time at the Club, Forrester has been a two-time recipient of the Hank Aaron Chasing a Dream Scholarship, Rotary Youth Leadership Award Camp participant and President of the Aberdeen Keystone Club.

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Forrester strives to be a community leader and make an impact.

“The Club means so much to me and has helped me find so many new talents that I can now express with others,” Forrester said. “Without the Club, I don’t know where I would be at today. I would most likely be that shy girl and not known for helping the community.”

As the 2020 Youth of the Year winner, Forrester was awarded a $2,000 education scholarship from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford and Cecil Counties Endowment Scholarship Fund.

Other finalists were Hayley White, a senior at Havre de Grace High School; Kevin Little, a sophomore at Perryville High School; Heath Hutchinson, a sophomore at Edgewood High School; and Tagia McGraw, a senior at Bel Air High School. All the runners up received $1,000 education scholarships thanks to supporters such as the Coach Q Foundation.

“I continue to be humbled by Hailey’s generosity and compassion for service to her community," said Derek DeWitt, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford and Cecil Counties. “We are proud of all of this year’s candidates and know that they will all strive for greatness in all that they do.”

Edgewood Boys & Girls Club alumnus and 2005 Youth of the Year, Kerri Lambert, child and adolescent mental health therapist at Chesapeake Healthcare, delivered a heartfelt keynote speech to Club kids and community members.

As she reflected on growing up in Boys & Girls Clubs and the role it played in her life, she credited the clubs as her “safe haven.”

“I carried boulders of stressors in my backpack that I was able to unload when I was at the Club. These boulders were chiseled away and replaced with positive experiences to counteract the adverse child experiences that I had,” Lambert said.

The speech closed with Lambert encouraging each Youth of the Year candidate to think about their experience and how they can pay it forward to the next generation.

Additional Youth Celebration Dinner sponsors included Water’s Edge Event Center, Harford Mutual Insurance, APGFCU, BRAVURA, Purnell Body Shop, SURVICE Engineering, Weyrich Cronin & Sorra, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Jones Junction, Harford County Government, Beacon Staffing, It’s PayDay, BSC America, Miles & Stockbridge, Tony & Lesyle Staub, A Step 2 Success, DXI Construction, Thompson Toyota, Advanced Eye Care & Aesthetics, Island Spice Grille & Lounge, American Design and Build, Planet Fitness, Ellin and Tucker, Harford County Association of Realtors, Dave Dixon, and Eddie Simon.

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