Manatee Boys & Girls Clubs' top teen at state conference

vmannix@bradenton.comApril 15, 2013 

BRADENTON

A mature, affable, organized young lady.

Flexible, self-directed and considerate.

Determined, smart and engaging.

Edonya Timmons, 15, is all that and more, said adults who wrote letters supporting her successful nomination as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County 2013 Youth of the Year.

But they didn't mention Edonya's rifle right arm.

It was on display one glorious afternoon at the DeSoto Club where the Bayshore High School freshman is a volunteer and joined a scrum of elementary school boys playing football.

Edonya took the snap, told everyone to go deep and let 'er fly.

"I don't really play sports," she said. "But I can throw the ball."

Carl Weeks will vouch for that.

"Her arm's stronger than mine," the Boys & Girls club executive director said.

It was just another example of the remarkable youngster's ability and willingness to lead and lend assistance:

n Helping other teens with homework.

n Mentoring youngsters.

n Throwing the home run ball to future Friday night heroes.

Whatever it takes.

"Kids are vulnerable," Edonya said. "You have to show them there are others who care about them and their future. Helping them, seeing their smiles, the grati

tude, it feels good.

"This is like a second home, a second family to me."

Edonya will represent that family at the Florida State Youth of the Year conference in Stuart today through Tuesday.

"She's become a force for our organization," Weeks said. "She has a passion to be successful and we need to make sure more youth follow that pattern."

A member for four years, Edonya is at DeSoto for almost three hours daily after school and club officials appreciate her presence.

"She has the ability to reach out to each age group from 5 to 17," program director Janice Taylor said. "She's softspoken, but her persona, how she carries herself, her ability to adjust, it makes a difference overall. She is a mentor by choice."

Her grandmother was proud of that.

Carol Timmons passed last Valentines Day, but her legacy of caring about others lives on through her granddaughter.

"She impacted lives," Edonya said of the matriarch. "Everybody knew her as the person you come to for help. She let people stay at her house until they got back on their feet. She'd help feed the hungry on Wednesdays at church. She never said no."

One of four children, Edonya also emulates her grandmother at home.

When their parents work schedules conflicted, she made her younger sister's breakfast, got her ready for school, checked her homework at night and so forth.

Edonya's mother won't take credit.

"She was born with a lot of (those) personality traits," Angela Lowe-Reaves said. "And don't forget smart!"

Edonya is involved in the college prep program Achievement through Individualized Determination, and carries a 4.0 GPA, taking honors English and biology and advanced placement human geography.

She's also active in several clubs:

n Delta GEMS, whose mission is community service.

n Keystone, a Boys & Girls Club program to assist the homeless.

n Young Lady Speak Out, a church girls youth group designed to develop leadership skills.

Edonya's qualities will be on display at the state youth conference and Weeks is making sure the club's five other Youth of the Year nominees are there, too.

"We're proud Edonya's our representative," he said. "But they're all going so they can experience what happens and grow from it."

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix

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