Web Sites, Documents and Articles >> Hartford Courant News Articles >

Kordell Hinds Is `Youth Of The Year'

15-Year-Old Chosen By Boys & Girls Clubs Of Hartford For Leadership Award

March 28, 2005
By MELISSA PIONZIO, Courant Staff Writer

Fifteen-year-old Kordell Hinds has a kind face, a thoughtful demeanor and a smile that lights up the room. But the quality that really stands out in this year's Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford "Youth of the Year," is the passion he displays when talking about what the club means to him.

"Here, I get a say so in everything," he said of the club's Southwest unit, where he has been a member for about six years. "I like the kids looking up to me and I like the programs like Keystone. It helps me to become a leader, to get to college. It helps me with myself."

Each year, a "Youth of the Year" is selected from among club members nominated by club staff members. Participants are required to write essays on leadership, home and family, moral character, community involvement, school and college, and service to the club. The essays must be supported by two letters written on behalf of the nominee by friends, teachers or the club's staff. The candidates are then interviewed by a panel of judges.

Jeanne Milstein, the state child advocate, was one of this year's judges. She said Kordell and all of the nominees have given her hope, not only for the future of Hartford, but for its youth as well.

"It was so inspiring to meet these wonderful young people," she said. "He's just a terrific young man. He's so bright and he is very gracious. I think he will be one of our great leaders."

After the interview, Kordell walked around the room and shook every panel member's hand, said Milstein. But being polite was obvious to Kordell, he said. It was other skills he had to work on, and he got a few tips from his unit director Latonia Kendrick.

"Latonia made me practice ... how to stand, where to put your hands, where my eyes are," he said. "That helped me in the long run."

"I made him practice reading everything. Even cereal boxes," laughed Kendrick, who nominated Kordell for the award. "It was evident ... his poise, his leadership stood out. The judges could see it right away."

In addition to Youth of the Year, Kordell has been a basketball coach at the club for younger members and excelled in SMART MOVES, a drug, alcohol and teen pregnancy prevention program. As president of Southwest's Keystone Club, Kordell leads fellow Keystone members in the planning and implementation of activities in areas such as service to club and community, leadership development, education and career exploration, unity, free enterprise and social recreation.

"He's so strong and he is only 15," said Kendrick. "Can you imagine what he will be like when he is 20? He will be so powerful."

This year, Southwest's Keystone Club made it to the highest, Gold Level status. Getting gold was one of the reasons why Kordell was selected to sit on the steering committee that planned this year's Boys & Girls Clubs regional conference in Orlando, Fla. He gets to attend the conference, which is great, he said, but the Keystone Club has helped Kordell in other ways too.

"As a group, we have to work together instead of arguing about stuff," said Kordell. "We learn to respect each other's ideas."

Although he is quiet and thoughtful, Kordell describes himself as aggressive. The Boys & Girls Club has helped him to curb this aggressiveness, and when he can't, he said he always apologizes for his behavior.

"If I wasn't here, I'd be doing what everybody else is doing. I'd probably party or sell drugs ... just being stupid," he said.

"It's not a problem to stay away from drugs because I'm here."

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
Powered by Hartford Public Library  

Includes option to search related Hartford sites.

Advanced Search
Search Tips

Can't Find It? Have a Question?