By Sarah Lawson, Correspondent
The Central Texas Youth Coalition hosted the 18th annual Central Texas Incredible Kids Celebration on the morning of April 13 to honor 12 exceptional youth. The Youth Coalition is comprised of four organizations: the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Texas, assisted by executive assistant Phyllis Shaw; the Centex Chargers Homeschool Sports Association, assisted by administrator Gayle Ash; the Belton Christian Youth Center and the Ralph Wilson Club.
Phyllis Shaw of the Boys and Girls Club, as well as Ash were both instrumental in the planning and completion of the event.
“This is my fourth year serving on this committee to put on this event,” said Shaw. “I am in charge of sponsorships. This year we raised close to $14,000. We split up some of the proceeds among the four organizations and the other portion goes to continue to fund the youth programs and scholarships in the community.”
Ash was particularly impressed with this year’s group of “incredible kids” honored.
“I think this year we had more outstanding kids than ever,” said Ash. “Normally we choose ten, but this year there were 12 because we just couldn’t narrow it down. Many of these kids aren’t just volunteering, they are starting their own organizations even- it is just so awesome!”
The 12 “Incredible Kids” honored were divided in two groups from 4th-8th grade and 9th-12th grade. Matthias Lease, 10, was honored for his selflessness in both community fundraising and outreach, also he is admired for surpassing the hurdles of autism and using his high functioning autism to reach more people.
“I won a bike. But, I picked a pink princess bike for [my sister] instead though. It was just her size.” Said Matthias Lease, 10, Providence Preparatory School, “I remembered she had no bike so I gave it to her so she could ride with me to the park.”
Matthias considers his autism a gift.
“Autism helps me befriend more people, more people especially the ones with autism,” said Lease. “We even did a birthday party for some of my friends, because they may not have friends to go to their parties, so my family did a party to make them smile. I can be friends better with people with autism because I understand what they are going through, and can help teach them to read and write and other stuff they may not be able to do for themselves.”
Emma Rose Gill, 12 was honored for excellence in film making. Gill scripted and directed a film on the psychological struggles of dealing with anorexia nervosa and/or bulimia. “All of my films are centered around trying to shed light on something not as often talked about,” said Gill.
Later on, Gill found out her eating disorder documentary helped save someone from potential suicide. “I was just excited that it actually helped someone. That is why I make films, and to get the letter from that person saying I helped them was just so awesome.”
The six kids honored in the 4th-8th grade group were: Jacoby Calloway, 4th grade, Sparta Elementary; Joey Kimberly Deleon, 4th grade, Providence Preparatory; Emma Rose Gill, 7th grade, homeschool resident of Nolanville; Matthias Lease, 4th grade, Providence Preparatory School; Ciare Stanke, 8th grade, Rogers Middle School and Alfred Eric Story, 8th grade, Gatesville Junior High.
The six kids honored in the 9th-12th grade group were: Kosi Eneli, 8th grade, South Belton Middle School; Kamryn Mayberry, 12th grade; Emily McBreen, 9th grade, Salado High School; Yasmin Rivas, 12th grade, Temple High School & Edwards Academy; Caitlin Stanke, 10th grade, Rogers High School and Kayla West, 11th grade, Killeen High School.