Eighteen-year-old Malachi Haynes recently was asked to do something that would have most people ducking, diving and doing just about anything to get out of.
But Haynes, a recent graduate of George Washington High School, had been preparing for this moment his entire life. He stepped to the podium at the Denver Metro Boys & Girls Club Gala in front of more than 1,000 people and brought the house down with a speech that spoke to what can happen to a young man when those around him believe.
"My parents, they didn't take the chance of being unsupervised can bring," Haynes said. "Without all this support I wouldn't have these dreams."
Haynes, though, is pretty incredible in his own right. He was named the local, city and state youth of the year by the Boys & Girls Club of America, which comes with a $5,000 college scholarship and a chance to compete in the regional and national competitions. Haynes travels to Texas on Sunday to compete in the regional Boys & Girls club youth of the year contest.
He was awarded the state nod for developing a reading program for children who were reading under grade level. For an hour of reading, Haynes would play an hour of sports with the children.
Haynes, who describes himself as "a hard worker," "dedicated" and "clear headed," said he has always had support. He started at the Boys & Girls Club when he was 6 years old. In fifth grade he joined the Porter-Billups Leadership Academy (PBLA). PBLA serves students in grades 4-11 with summer leadership classes on Regis University‘s Northwest Denver campus. Students who have a positive attitude, solid academics and show leadership qualities are recommended for the program.
It was there that he gained his affinity for public speaking and sharpened his leadership skills.
"When I first started with a PBLA I couldn’t understand why," he said. "I thought I just got to hang out with new people. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized they saw something in me that I couldn’t see."
Haynes will attend Colorado State University in the fall and plans to study exercise and health sciences. He hopes to attend medical school and become a doctor. Until then, he’ll keep doing what he’s doing.
"I’ve been so busy it doesn’t feel like I’m doing anything extra," he said. "I still go to the Boys & Girls Club every day and help kids read. That’s not out of the ordinary. When the kids see me they run up and say can you help me read? How can you say no to that?"
PBLA runs June 11-28 this year. It’s Golf Tournament is July 23, 2018 at the Cherry Creek Country Club in Denver. For more information about PBLA visit porter-billups.org.
Luke Graham is the staff writer at Regis University.