COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Jhaqula Tyson goes to Carver High School, and her service to others has landed her a spot as one of the nominees for Youth of the Year at the Boys and Girls Club in Columbus.
Tyson says that what started as a place to go after school turned into much more.
"Since I was younger, I've always been told to help those in need. Just not in need, but wanting to do something for people to be able to help those who have helped me in a willing way. I've just always been that person," she says.
Tyson started coming to the Boys and Girls Club at a very young age with her aunt. She looked up to the older girls there like siblings, and they helped make a impact on her life. She says her great future started the day she walked in THE CLUB doors.
"Some of them have been like older sisters to me," says Tyson. "I've had those mature conversations with them. I'm able to talk to them like a sibling."
Tyson is an older sibling herself, and she takes pride in helping the young grow. She uses that experience to help the younger kids, leading by example, like the older girls did for her.
"I have to encourage them to do better, and when i see these younger kids, I think of them as my little sister or little brother, and I have to think to myself, like, with you helping them, they can become better people. Yeah, it starts with the younger ones."
She says her hard work and dedication at THE CLUB, and doing things like putting tissue in the bathrooms, helping organize files at the front desk, and just helping with the simple things, put her in the position she is in today. She says she wants to leave a lasting impression on society.
Tyson has been involved in service projects in the community, and has also served as a junior staff member at THE CLUB last summer. She believes everyone is given great opportunities, but it is what you do with those opportunities that determines how far you will go in life.
"I would say to them, 'Take advantage of the opportunities given,'" says Tyson. "Because I wouldn't have thought, when I first came to the Teen Center that I would be sitting here doing this, and being a nominee for Youth of the Year. I wouldn't think that it would be me of all people.'"
When Tyson finishes high school, she plans on becoming a chef. She learned how to complete tasks in the kitchen with her grandmother, and that's when she found her passion for food.
Tyson also enjoys capturing the moment by snapping pictures.