Natorie Williams, 17 and a student at Eustis High School, was recognized by Congressman Daniel Webster as Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake and Sumter Counties Youth of the Year.
When did you first visit the Boys and Girls Club? In the summer after fifth grade, my mom wanted my sister and me to go.
Why do you keep coming back? The support of the staff. In the sixth grade, I was bullied physically, mentally, and emotionally by a girl who lived in the same neighborhood, rode my bus, and was in some of my classes in school. At the club I got very quiet and seemed depressed. One of the staff members, Miss Charlene, pulled me aside. She said, “Tell your bully tomorrow what you have to say, so this won’t continue. Once you stand up and tell her what’s on your mind, she will be scared of you, because now you will not be affected by her bullying.” I took her advice the very next day and the bullying stopped. I was amazed that they cared, stuck by my side the whole time and never left.
How has the Boys & Girls Club impacted your life? It has helped me find my own voice, being able to say what I need to say when I need to say it. It has helped me with my grades … not being scared to take AP (Advanced Placement) classes, with college planning, job experiences, so I can be prepared for what I will be facing when I leave.
What do you do with the Boys & Girls Club now? I am a junior staff member, and I enjoy helping other kids the way I was helped.
What are your extracurricular activities? I serve as the vice president of the Future Business Leaders of America, a member of the Glee Club, the Beta Club, and the Best Buddies Club.
What are your goals for the future? I plan to attend Lake-Sumter State College, and then on to either FAMU or UCF to pursue a degree in business management. I want to complete my MBA in business and go into the fashion industry in New York.
Why fashion? One day I noticed my mother’s Betsy Johnson purse. It was purple and black and had a zebra print, and it said Betsyville on it. I thought, “What’s that?” I looked it up and all of a sudden a whole new world opened up for me. She uses patterns and polka dots and I was so shocked. I said, “I want to do that!”