COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Demetria Floyd calls herself outgoing and funny.
She loves art and dance and mentors the younger members of the Boys & Girls Clubs. She admits that being fun-loving and happy was not always her persona. The 17-year-old started coming to Boys & Girls during a difficult time in her life six years ago, right after the death of her father.
“They just made me feel like I wasn’t alone and I still had people that cared about me and could help me and just helped me be the best I could be,” Floyd said.
Over the years, Floyd, who’s an 11th grader at Carver High school, became at leader at Boys & Girls, starting a dance group at the Elizabeth Canty Center for the younger girls, and later getting the same program going at the teen center. She calls her dance group “Ladies of Integrity.”
“I just feel like all ladies and girls should have integrity and we’re young ladies, so Ladies of Integrity,” Demetria said with a smile.
“Now we go and help the younger members with dance and we just go and perform at CSU and parades and other events,” she said.
This is Floyd’s second year being a Youth of the Year Finalist. The experience the first time around last year, she said taught her a lot.
"It was a great experience and what I learned is to work harder and let my peers know that you can do anything."
Teen Center Unit Director, Antonio Pace, said Floyd has come a long way since coming to the Boys & Girls Clubs and calls her a true leader.
“She vibes with everybody, she’s outspoken, very outspoken. She’s a good-hearted person and she has a message that a lot of kids can relate to,” Pace said.
Floyd said the Boys & Girls Clubs has helped to give her that confidence and she believes it can do the same for others. If she’s named Youth of the Year for 2019, she said she’ll work to give a voice to the issues facing teens.
“There’s a lot of gun violence and teen pregnancy so if you see that, try to go and steer the other direction. And try to be better than what you see in the community and the environment,” Floyd said.
"I want my peers to know we are put here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain and not shrink to the size of a grain of sand! You can do anything as long as you put your mind to it,” said Floyd
Floyd says she would like to expand her “Ladies of Integrity” dance program to include males who are interested in dance as well.
She plans to attend Berry College and hopes to study dance and music appreciation.