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Apr 24

Boys & Girls Club of MiddleTennessee’s Youth of the Year Celebrated at Great Futures Gala Featuring Shaquille O’Neal

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It was April 1st, but it was no April Fool’s joke when Fairview’s Destiny Moore walked across the stage at the Omni Nashville Hotel to accept the Boys & Girls Club of Middle Tennessee Youth of the Year Award  –  for the second time.

“Being named the Youth of the Year again was so amazing. I was so honored that they choose me to tell my story to inspire others,” said 17-year-old Destiny. A senior at Fairview High School, Destiny received her first Middle Tennessee Youth of the Year honor in 2014 as a freshman.

Destiny accepted her award at the Great Futures Gala presented by Nissan North America as a fundraiser for eight Middle Tennessee clubs that provide youth-development programs for 4,000 youth between ages 5 to 18 years.

Invited to share her award-winning speech with the large audience including NBA Hall of Famer and Boys & Girls Club alumni Shaquille O’Neal, Destiny spoke of the many personal challenges she has faced, ranging from divorce and homelessness to bullying and racial discrimination. She also revealed the invaluable role the Boys & Girls Club played in her life.

“This year, I graduate from high school and begin the next chapter at Middle Tennessee State University.  With this fact alone, I am already beating statistics that were stacked against me from the start. But I’m not worried about statistics. My sights are set on soaring high. Getting here hasn’t been easy. And without the Boys & Girls Club, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Confident. Optimistic. Prepared. Empowered,” stated Destiny.

The Youth of the Year title recognizes Destiny’s outstanding contributions to family, school, community, and the Boys & Girls Club while also reflecting on her personal challenges and obstacles. Destiny said she has achieved academic success, a healthy lifestyle and good character through her engagement with the club.

And while she enjoyed a familiar moment in the spotlight, Destiny was quick to share, “The highlight of the evening was being able to introduce my mother to her favorite basketball player.”

O’Neal served as the celebrity guest for the gala and spoke of his own positive experience with the Boys & Girls Club. He credits the Boys & Girls Clubs with giving him a safe place to play and keeping him off the streets in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey. “It gave me something to do,” he said. “I’d just go there to shoot (basketball). I didn’t even play on a team,” shared O’Neal.

The evening was a win-win for Destiny’s mother Terigaka Moore, who enjoyed meeting O’Neal and witnessing her daughter’s latest accomplishment. “Needless to say, I am proud and grateful for the successful and fearless young woman she is becoming,” said mom Terigaka.

Involved in the Boys & Girls Club for almost a decade, Destiny said, “One of my earliest memories at the club is meeting Mrs. Tamara Peay. She had the biggest smile on her face. As a seven-year-old, I remember feeling happy on the inside for the first time since my parents divorced.”

With the Boys & Girls Club, she said, “I found a community where I could feel safe and loved outside of my home environment. I made lifelong friendships. And I found mentors to confide in during difficult times.”

Destiny will be a guest speaker at the 28th Annual Steak & Burger Dinner benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee on Thursday, May 11 in Liberty Hall at the Factory of Franklin.

For more information about the event, visit www.SteakAndBurgerDinner.com. To learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee, visit www.bgcmt.org.