“My happy place” is how Holland High School Junior Maurice Brown describes the Boys & Girls Club.
He joined as a first-grader, and set his sights long ago on one day being selected for the Holland Club’s prestigious Youth of the Year Award – a honor won in 2011 by his cousin, Christina Preston.
Maurice, 17, was selected as the club’s 2015 Youth of the Year at MidTown Center on Jan. 27, after he and four other club members nominated by Boys and Girls staff gave speeches.
Youth of the Year is the Boys and Girls Club of America’s highest honor, recognizing students for promoting service to the club, community and family; academic achievement; strong moral character; life goals and public-speaking ability.
“At the Boys and Girls Club I’ve learned things that are helping me achieve my primary goal, which is being a brother my younger brothers and sisters can look up to,” Maurice said.
The son of Eddie and Erica Brown of Holland is the second-born of nine children in a blended family.
“My brothers and sisters are my inspiration,” Maurice said. “I will do whatever I can to be a positive role model for them.”
He credits the club’s Physical Education Director Kyle Raak, and former Teen Director Shonett Davis, for mentoring him on how to become a leader.
Maurice serves as a junior staff member at the Boys and Girls Club’s southside location.
He will compete against other club winners for the Boys and Girls Club’s Michigan Youth of the Year award this spring. In the past, some winners from the Holland club have advanced to the national level of the competition.
Maurice moved to Holland from Fennville as a kindergartener. He attended VanRaalte and Jefferson elementary schools before Holland High.
He has also been crowned the community’s Juneteenth King for two years. He serves as a youth member of Alliance for Cultural and Ethnic Harmony board. He is active in the Community Connections and Young Life programs.
Maurice aspires to a career as a chef in a fine dining establishment. He is active in the culinary arts program at Careerline Tech Center and has twice been elected president of that program by his peers.
After graduation, Maurice hopes to enroll at the Culinary Institute of American in New York.