story by Kayla Jebaily
From a young age, Bryanna Williams had to learn to depend on herself. Originally from Texas, she was moved to foster care at the age of six. At age nine, she moved to Georgetown, South Carolina, where she bounced around to multiple foster homes for several years. During this time, Bryanna became withdrawn and reserved, often untrusting of those around her. She found it difficult to form relationships with people when she did not know how long she would be staying in a home or school. It was not until the age of fourteen, when she moved into her current foster home in Hemingway, that she opened up and become comfortable with those around her. Bryanna also began attending the Rick & Susan Goings Boys & Girls Club in Hemingway around this time. Her foster mom, Amy, is credited with introducing Bryanna to the Boys & Girls Club. While Bryanna had heard of the organization back in Texas, she was unaware that Hemingway had a club where teens like her were able to socialize in a positive place.
The first few months in her new foster home and at the Boys & Girls Club were difficult for Bryanna. She was shy and did not know anyone in Hemingway. Even in the gym at the club she watched others play basketball instead of joining in because she was too nervous. But with the steady encouragement of Amy and staff at the club, Bryanna began to come out of her shell. She became more confident as she realized she finally had a support group around her who had her back. She made friends and participated in activities around the club, particularly basketball, for which she discovered she has quite the talent and functions as a stress reliever. Now a senior in high school, Bryanna is a shining star in her
school. She plays basketball, volleyball, runs track, and is an artist. She is in the top 5% of her senior class in terms of academics, earning all A’s. She still frequently attends the Boys & Girls Club, where she participates in the Job Readiness Training program, Junior Staff, and other Boys & Girls Club activities and programs. Bryanna also works at KJ’s Market as a cashier. She has high aspirations for her college career, hoping to attend Claflin University, Clemson University, University of South Carolina, Francis Marion University, or Coastal Carolina and earn her degree in computer science so she can pursue a career in computer engineering.
Most recently, Bryanna won the 2019 Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Youth of the Year competition after she was named the Hemingway Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year Representative. She will go on to compete in the State Youth of the Year Competition in late April. Staff at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee are honored to have such an accomplished and humble young woman as the organization’s youth representative. Her story is one that shows perseverance and courage. While she has many important decisions to make regarding her future as she nears high school graduation, one thing is certainly clear, Bryanna Williams is a force to be reckoned with, and no matter what she does, her determination and positive attitude will take her far in life.
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