State Officials Meet Kansas Teen Named National Youth Of The Year

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - An outstanding teen is looking forward to putting Kansas in the national spotlight.

Kiana Knolland of Wichita recently was named the Boys and Girls Clubs of America National Youth of the Year. Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and Department of Children and Families Secretary Phyllis Gilmore congratulated her on her achievement during a Monday visit to the Statehouse.

Knolland also was recognized on the House floor and she took part in a lunch with the House and Senate Education Committees.

Knolland says the organization had a tremendous impact on her life. She says she got involved with Boys and Girls Club programs when she was five years old. She says it taught her character and leadership skills during what were some turbulent times.

"The Boys and Girls Club helped me have a resilient attitude," Knolland said. "They helped tell me that the odds don't define me. The problems that I'm going through, they don't make me who I am. The only thing I have to do is I have to study and get good grades but I can do anything that i put my mind to."

Knolland says she is excited to spread the message about the importance of the organization, but, more importantly, to share the work being done by the Kansas affiliates.

Knolland received a $60,000 scholarship for winning the national title. She will spend the next year traveling the country to advocate for the nearly four million youth served by the Boys and Girls Clubs.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Kansas planned to name their new statewide youth of the year during an event at 6pm Monday at Topeka's Maner Conference Center.