PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Playing his snare drum, Jaylin Harris was right in his element.
“I love music. I love to make music,” Jaylin said.
Jaylin’s love for percussion started in middle school. That hard work and dedication landed him a full ride scholarship at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, but getting to this point was no easy feat.
The 18-year-old was a recent McClellan High School graduate. He grew up with four brothers and two sisters and they were raised solely by their dad.
“He just taught us a lot about growing, being a family, being courteous and kind and just being a great character,” Jaylin said.
While his dad was an active parent, he said there was one thing he couldn’t teach him.
“Growing up as a kid, you don’t get a lot of figures and since I didn’t have a mother, well I did, but she wasn’t in my life, so they [The Boys & Girls Club] had mother figures up there that taught me how to live accustom to meeting women and stuff like that,” Jaylin said.
The place he was talking about was the Whetstone Boys & Girls Club in southwest Little Rock.
“When I started going, it just changed me,” Jaylin said. “They were talking about things about how you should live and how you should take care of yourself and health issues that people are having nowadays that you can prevent.”
Jaylin started going to the club when he was just five years old. Just this year, he was selected as The 2019 Boys & Girls Club of Central Arkansas Youth of the Year.
“He’s so dynamic and he is a young man that’s faced a lot,” Boys & Girls Club of Central Arkansas CEO Cindy Doramus said.
When asked where he would be today with the club, Jaylin said he honestly did not know.
“They brought me through a lot of stuff, struggles, going through it with life and they just taught me the way and how to live life,” Jaylin explained.
He’s no longer a kid marching to the beat of his own drum. Now, he’s a young man focused on using what he’s learned to impact the future generations.
Jaylin is just one of thousands of kids who have been positively impacted by the Boys & Girls Club of Central Arkansas over the years. The organization has some financial battles and is struggling to keep its doors open. It currently cost about $180,000 per month to keep the clubs open in Little Rock and North Little Rock. If you’d like to donate to the organization, click here.