Youth of the Year Uses Adoption Story as Platform for Change

Youth of the Year Uses Adoption Story as Platform for Change

February 25, 2021

Elyse Bailey

Service comes naturally - if not genetically - to Elyse Bailey, the 2021 St. Lucie County Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year.

Parents Rose and Brian Bailey are givers and servers who have dedicated their lives to foster care, and Elyse is part of their 8-child family created through the love of adoption.

Now Elyse is sharing her adoption story to help improve life for the hundreds of children still living in foster care in Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast. It was that story and her advocacy on behalf of other children that won Elyse her most recent accolade and a $5,000 scholarship from the Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County.

Elyse, a junior at St. Lucie West Centennial High School, was named the organization's Youth of the Year for its Ken Pruitt location during a ceremony February 19 at the clubs' new Westside Club facility in Fort Pierce.

Elyse wishes to pursue a degree in law and one day become a public defense attorney.

“Before coming to the Boys and Girls Club, I dealt with a lot of depression and anxiety connected to my labels,” Elyse said in her candidate profile. “At one point, I felt like I was losing myself. My club has empowered me to go out into my community and help other teens who are also adopted.”

"We are so proud that Elyse has chosen to use foster care and adoption as part of her platform," said her mother, Rose Bailey. "This is her life and she has seen the positivity and benefits it has brought to her life."

Elyse said she is is excited to talk about foster care and adoption to a larger audience. "It's good for other kids to know they are not alone," she said. "It's their chance, and they can walk proud in it."

Watch the livestreamed virtual ceremony.

Contact: Christina Kaiser