Written by Cindy Kranz
Nick Lachey (second from left) speaks to award winners (left to right) K'Ron Covington, Ziphyahn Glass, Alesea Ronnebaum, Donzel Bailey and Javele Jackson after Lachey keynoted the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati's Annual Achievement Luncheon at Xavier University's Cintas Center. / The Enquirer/Amie Dworecki
Javele Jackson never let adversity stop him.
In the past, he lived with his mother in Kentucky, moving from apartment to apartment.
"Things were hard," said the 17-year-old Western Hills University High School senior. "That was going on for as long as I can remember."
One day, when he was in fourth or fifth grade, they got evicted. His mom took off without him.
"To this day, I have not seen her," Javele said.
Despite the hardships he's faced, Javele has grown up to be a young man of character who serves as a role model for other youths.
On Friday, Javele was named the Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati at its Annual Achievement Luncheon at Xavier University's Cintas Center.
The award is based on a club member's character, academic excellence, citizenship and club involvement. It's the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive and comes with a $5,000 scholarship.
"It meant a lot," Javele said. "Just to win and to get the money was overwhelming."
He also met Nick Lachey, who was keynote speaker for the event. Lachey recently founded the Nick Lachey Foundation, dedicated to helping children and families in need.
A member of the U.S. Bank Club in Avondale, Javele is also a junior usher and fundraiser at Lee Chapel A.M.E. Church.
Javele is the youngest of five children in his family. He stresses to his younger cousins the importance of having a positive self-image, the negatives of drug use and taking care of oneself by eating right and exercising.
"I learned that from people showing me and teaching me," he said. "I always had a coach who said, 'You have potential. If you do this and keep yourself in shape, this is what you could become."'
Javele plans to attend Mount St. Joseph College to pursue a career as an athletic trainer and nutritionist. He'd also love to coach someday.
Other finalists for the award were:
Donzel Bailey, LeBlond Club in Over-the-Rhine; junior, Walnut Hills High School.
K'Ron Covington, Buenger Club in Newport; senior, Newport High School.
Ziphyahn Glass, Marge Schott-Unnewehr Club in Covington; eighth-grader, Holmes Middle School.
Alesea Ronnebaum, Espy Club in Price Hill; sophomore, Mother of Mercy High School.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati provide a free daily meal and after-school and summer programming for 10,000 children between the ages of 6 and 18 at 10 locations in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.