COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Sixteen-year-old Demetria Floyd has a lot of confidence today and loves taking advantage of opportunities and helping others.
She is a very different person than she was four years ago as a 12-year old girl who didn't want to step foot in the Elizabeth Canty Boys and Girls Club in Columbus.
Her mother, returning to work after the tragic loss of Demetria's father, needed a safe environment for her after school. Demetria, sad and hurting herself after her father's death, became withdrawn and introverted.
"At first I was kind of shutting everybody down, but once I realized they were like family, I opened up and started shining like I usually do," says Demetria.
Thanks to her family at the Boys and Girls Club, Demetria has been shining ever since. The Carver High School 10th grader says mentors and leaders at the Club showed her the love she needed through the tears and difficult times.
"They make you feel like family and they award you on accomplishments. They let you know when you're doing well and when you're doing badly. They help you through that bad," Demetria says.
Demetria has stayed active at the Boys and Girls Club Teen Center. She mentors the little ones and also started a dance team called Ladies of Legacy that performs at functions throughout the community.
As a finalist for the 2018 Boys and Girls Clubs of the Chattahoochee Valley's Youth of the Year, Demetria's message is - "It takes a big heart to help shape little minds," something she's learned firsthand.
"I have great leadership and I love to inspire others to get the confidence I have today and be great," says Demetria. "I love helping my community, whether it's just handing out food or clothes. I do what's best for my community to help them be better."