COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - This week the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Chattahoochee Valley will present the highest recognition that it can bestow on a club member.
The organization will name its 2017 Youth of the Year, and as a partner with the nonprofit, WTVM is giving you a look at all of the finalists for this award.
One of the finalists is Tia Nick, who calls the Boys and Girls Club of the Chattahoochee Valley her home away from home. The 18-year-old Carver High senior teaches art to children at the club and helps them with homework.
Tia says it's always a place she looks forward to coming to. "Because of the fact that everybody treats me with respect whether I'm in a good or bad mood they always seem to cheer me up," says Tia.
She admits being cheery was not always something she was good at. In fact, she says she was bullied when she was younger which caused her to react with violence.
"My solution to everything was to fight, it was to hit them, whether it be with words or action, it was to fight," Tia says.
But through the Boys and Girls Club, she learned there are different ways to deal with conflict. That's why she chose "Stop the Violence" as her platform issue.
"At the Boys and Girls Club, you have younger children that are looking up to you as mentors, as somebody to be when they get older. So if you're putting your hands on other people that's what they think they should do. So at the Boys and Girls Club, I was taught to be a mentor and to show them different ways like I was taught. Now it's my time to teach them."
After graduation, Tia plans to join the military and become a nurse and she'll take with her the skills she learned at the Boys and Girls Club. Tia believes these skills help make her the perfect choice for Youth of the Year.
"I am Tia; I am Youth of the Year! I am confident, and like I said I'm the youth of the year."
The winner will be announced at the Youth of the Year Awards Dinner Thursday, February 18th at the National Infantry Museum.