BGCA Youth of the Year Winner on Media Tour with Denzel Washington

Plus, he gets a new Corolla. #winning.

Photo © Tony Powell. 2018 BGCA Youth of the Year Celebration. Building Museum. September 24, 2018

When you were a teenager, what color car would you have chosen? For Malachi Haynes that dilemma is a reality. Eighteen-year-old Haynes was recently named the 2018-2019 Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) National Youth of the Year. It’s a huge honor, but another perk? He’ll receive a 2019 Toyota Corolla as part of the recognition.

Haynes is now on a media tour with Denzel Washington, Academy Award-winning actor, BGCA alum, and national spokesperson for BGCA.

That’s pretty cool. But it’s much more than that: “Being a leader and a role model in my community is my purpose,” said Haynes, speaking from the stage at the National Youth of the Year Celebration in Washington, D.C. on September 27, 2018.

Haynes first joined his local BGCA of Metro Denver – a TFS partner Club – in 2006. He remembers being the smallest one there, and staff described him as quiet and shy.

“One day he went from doing the activities at the Club, to leading the activities,” said Debra Hall, Haynes’ mother and Club volunteer. He was transforming into a leader.

When Haynes noticed the lagging reading levels of young African American males in his community, he created a Club program called “Double Trouble.” Each week, he and a friend identified five children to tutor. The promise: one hour of reading and studying earned the child one hour of physical activity. Every one of them improved their literacy level.

One of the things that helped shaped Haynes into a leader, was the TFS sponsored Youth of the Year program he took part in at his local Club. The Youth of the Year program is curriculum that teaches 21st century leadership skills.

Interestingly, Haynes applied for the Youth of the Year competition last year and lost at the local level. TFS team member Shannyn Baumgartner from the Denver office was a judge when Haynes lost, and she and other BGCA staff encouraged him to apply again.

This year, serendipitously, as Haynes moved up in the competition, Toyota was there to meet him at every stage. Denver DSSM Aaron Nelson was a judge at the state level where Haynes won Colorado State Youth of the Year. During the regional competition judging, TMNA’s Norm Bafunno and former TFS President & CEO Mike Groff met Haynes and praised his leadership potential. And at the national judging, Mark Johnson, General Manager at TMNA, was there to vote Malachi to victory.

As National Youth of the Year, Haynes will serve as the official spokesperson for BGCA and its Young Alumni & Friends Club that connects former members. As a TFS/Toyota “Making Life Easier” scholarship recipient, he’s ‘starting his impossible’ and studying kinesiology at Colorado State University to pursue a career in sports medicine.