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Kadena Youth Selected as PACAF Youth of the Year

Date Posted: 1999-05-08

Deirdre Kinard , who recently earned the title of 1999 Kadena Youth of the Year has now been awarded the title of PACAF Youth of the Year. Kinard also shares the title of Overseas Youth of the Year with Marie L. Glorieux of RAF Croughton, England. This national program recognizes superior leadership skills, academic achievement and outstanding service to the Boys & Girls Club and to the community.

"I wasn't expecting to win [the Kadena competition], we were all so close," said Kinard speaking of her competitors, High School Junior Luke Pope and Sophomore Kathryn Bennett. "We each have equal involvement in the Boys & Girls Club and are each active in the community."

Kinard began dancing as a ballerina with the Boys & Girls Club at the age of four. She now assists reading impaired children at the Kadena child development centers and the after-school program. "By helping little kids with reading, the after-school programs helped me give back to the community. The club helps build essential self-esteem. I'm proud to be a part of it as it has grown." In addition to helping reading impaired kids, Kinard is a member of the Teen Leadership Council and volunteers at off-base nursing homes.

Representing the Kadena Youth of the Year, Kinard will attend the Air Force Teen Forum in Washington D.C. on June 22 - 25, 1999, accompanied by Youth Support Coordinator Kym Sheipline. As the Far East Overseas winner, Kinard will compete in the Boys & Girls Club Regional Competition in Anaheim, CA June 26 - 28. The five Regional winners will receive an engraved plaque and a $2,000 scholarship along with a $10,000 scholarship from The Reader's Digest Association, sponsor of the program since its inception in 1947. The five winners will then compete for the national honor in Washington D.C. The National Youth of the Year will be officially installed by the President in a White House ceremony in September.

"I don't enter the contests just to win," says Kinard. "I use it as a learning experience, I like challenging myself." Kinard's future plans are to attend Washington University to pursue Law and Political Science.

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