Troi Thomas, 23
Boys & Girls Club of Tar River, Nashville
As club director of the Nashville unit for the Boys & Girls Club of Tar River, Troi Thomas is motivating kids to boost their educational attainment. Thomas, who has worked at the club since he was 18, was surprised that only 40% of his 9- to 11-year-old club members knew basic geographical facts. He created the “Project Learn” program, which reinforces and enhances skills and knowledge using games, trivia and other activities to create a fun, enjoyable learning environment. All of the kids are now up to speed on their geography, while most have raised their test scores by at least one letter grade. Thomas is most proud of the work he does helping inspire students to reach their full potential as productive and caring adults. A graduate of Nash Central High School, Thomas attended UNC Charlotte before returning home to continue working with the club. To expand his skill set, he’s pursuing an online degree in interior design from Penn Foster University.