ANNAPOLIS Teenager credits program supported by Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention Grant with helping restore confidence and promote leadership
Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford recently presented 17-year-old MiKayla Simms with a citation recognizing her as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Maryland State “Youth of the Year” for 2019. Simms participated in the year-round program through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. The program helps young people develop leadership skills and character traits that will serve them well in the future.
As Maryland Youth of the Year, Simms will be named as an ambassador for all teenagers and receive a $5,000 scholarship from the Boys & Girls Club of America. She was a member of the National Honor Society and French Honor Society. Simms was accepted to Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and wants to pursue a career in medicine with the goal of becoming a dermatologist or cardiologist.
“Having toured some of our state’s Boys and Girls clubs myself, I’ve seen first-hand how their programs are critical to strengthening bonds in our communities, improving the overall well-being of our youth, and preparing them for educational and professional pursuits,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “I congratulate Mikayla for this well-deserved recognition, and wish her well in her future endeavors.”
Simms is a graduate of Annapolis High School and is now a junior staff member at the Wiley H. Bates Heritage Boys & Girls Club. Simms credits the Boys & Girls Clubs staff and mentors with helping rebuild her confidence after she experienced bullying in school. She hopes to increase awareness of the ways communities can support young people as they grow into our leaders of tomorrow.
“Participating in the Youth of the Year program has allowed me to explore myself as a person for the better, and represent my community,” said Simms. “I am honored to meet Lt. Governor Rutherford and appreciate his strong support of Clubs across the state. It was very exciting to represent thousands of Maryland Club kids and I am thrilled to bring awareness of all the great programs and positive impact these programs provide our communities everyday.”
In 2018 and 2019, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention awarded grant funds to help support structured programming at several Boys & Girls Clubs locations in Maryland. This includes support for the Passport to Manhood and SMART Girls programs, which explore topics on character, health, fitness, prevention education, and self-esteem.
“MiKayla Simms is a future leader of Maryland already setting a positive example in her community at such a young age,” said Glenn Fueston, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. “Our office believes it is important to support the Boys & Girls Clubs and the young people who have benefited from the work they do. We are proud to work alongside these groups as integral partners in our prevention strategy for realizing Governor Hogan’s vision for a safer Maryland.”
The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention has helped support programming for tens of thousands of children during fiscal years 2018 and 2019 through grant funding, including for Boys & Girls Clubs and Police Athletic League (PAL) sites across Maryland. To learn more, visit: goccp.maryland.gov.