WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – “If I win, we all win.” A Wichita teen is speaking and living these words, not letting life’s obstacles hold him back.
Khaai Wilson is a 16-year-old ambitious, active, and caring high schooler. One would never guess the situation he was born into, and he is using his story to push himself and others.
With one change, his life could be different.
“I was really lucky to be adopted within the first 18 months of being born,” said Wilson.
His birth mother battled drug addiction. As a result, he was placed in the foster care system. That’s when he met his new family.
“They saved me from being in a very tough situation, and I don’t know where I’d be right now without my real parents,” said Wilson.
He was then put into the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas.
“This place has always been like a great … like home for me,” said Wilson.
He spent the past five years at the Boys & Girls Clubs, learning and growing.
“It gives me a sense of purpose, and I’m a part of something that’s bigger than myself,” said Wilson.
“He has a lot of drive. He is very motivated. He’s very competitive, but at the same time, though, he’s also very inclusive,” said Megan McClelland, mentor and VP of Program Quality for the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas.
Each year one Club member is selected to serve as Youth of the Year, becoming an ambassador and a voice for youth, whether it’s local, state, regional, or national.
Wilson is the 2023 Regional Youth of the Year, and the staff at Wichita’s Boys & Girls Clubs is ready to see him shine at the state competition.
“He has such a strong story, and he’s not afraid of it. he knows exactly what he doesn’t want to have happen in his future, and he’s making his dreams come true,” said McClelland.
Wilson’s biggest motivation is family and friends.
“I want them to know that not just my hard work but their hard work has paid off. So that’s why I try and wake up every day and do my best because I want them, all of us, to feel like we have succeeded in our life,” Wilson said.
Wilson, who is currently a sophomore at Wichita Heights, has his eyes set on college, considering business and math. Before then, Wilson will be competing for the Youth of the Year at the state level on March 20.