LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- One young man who is getting a lot of attention says it's not all about him.
He has a title that would make any parent proud and now he is inspiring others thanks to a recent speech.
His words have helped to change his life.
“It's not just my own, it's the lump sum of where I grew up,” said Jermarris Wilson. “There is violence ... there was poverty too.”
He wrote several copies of his speech.
“Two weeks to get it down, a lifetime to get the message.”
And it's one that now sticks.
“Whatever cards you were dealt, take them you can do anything,” said Wilson.
Wilson is the Boys and Girls Club Kentucky Youth of the Year and is being honored for leadership and service.
“This to me is a proud parent moment,” said his mother Sheran Harris.
The title is thanks in part to a speech he wrote that dove into his exposure to crime, poverty, and drugs in the Shawnee neighborhood and how that doesn't define who you are.
“It doesn't matter where you come from, you can be more than a product of your environment.”
The Doss High School senior was first introduced to the Boys and Girls Club in West Louisville several years ago by a friend.
It quickly became a safe place for Wilson - and helped him come into his own. Once a shy boy who felt a little different - now an outspoken advocate for change.
“I just want to be the one to expose some kids to something they haven't seen before.”
His excited mom had a rare moment after hearing about the award.
“I cried. I really cried. I say I'm super mom I'm always in my super mom suit,” said Harris.
But at that moment she broke down there were tears of joy after seeing the confidence her son had gained.
“No one in our neighborhood really taught you to love yourself or social skills.”
With the help of the Boys and Girls Club, he's learned how.
Wilson will serve as an ambassador now across the state and will receive college scholarships. He will also compete for the Regional Youth of the Year.