[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/28/shonnetta_ypwr.jpg
caption=”Shonnetta Henry, 18, is the 2008 Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Youth of the Year.”]
When she was a child, the odds were stacked against her. Shonnetta Henry grew up poor and fast. Her single mother struggled to raise three kids while her dad was in jail, but Shonnetta was still determined to win big.
Shonnetta joined the local Boys & Girls club not as a passive participant, but as a leader. She mentored and tutored younger kids, organized community service projects like National Youth Service Day, and created the poetry and spoken word outreach program, Ink about It.
As the 2008 Boys & Girls Club of America National Youth of the Year, Shonnetta, now 18, has taken herself from the crapshoot of poverty in Denver to the Oval Office to meet President Bush and visit the offices of both presidential candidates to discuss youth issues. As National Youth of the Year, she’ll tour the U.S. and the world as an example to youth about what they can achieve. On top of that, she won a big scholarship that allowed her to start her studies at the University of New Mexico.
Update: Watch the CNN.com Live interview