Orlando Jones is a true example of an extraordinary young man. At the age of 17, he has just been selected to compete against other Boys & Girls Club members for the state of Arkansas Youth of the Year title and a $1,000 scholarship from the Reader’s Digest Foundation.

As the Youth of the Year for the Boys and Girls Club of Phillips County, Jones is among hundreds of local youth across the country recognized by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) for his sound character, leadership skills and willingness to give back to the community.

Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. The title recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as personal challenges and obstacles overcome. This program was founded over 60 years ago through the generosity of Reader’s Digest.

Jones is very active in his local Boys and Girls Club. He serves as president of the Blues Keystone Club, assists younger members with homework in the Robert F. and Maude Caine Howe Learning Center, leads a reading program aimed at younger members and helps in the Dr. Mosler Kahn Café. He is also active in school serving as the Quiz Bowl team captain, tenor section leader of the school choir and member of student council.

If Jones wins at the state competition, he will compete for the title of Southwest Regional Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 scholarship. The five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C., in September 2009 to compete for the title of B&GCA’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year receives an additional $15,000 college scholarship and is installed by the President in an Oval Office ceremony.