Life isn't fair. Sometimes, kids have to grow up sooner than they should. Sometimes, they have to learn hard lessons. Sometimes, they have to dig deep inside of themselves and choose whether or not they are going to let their current circumstances determine their future, or if they are going to rise above those circumstances and change the world for the better anyway.

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Isabell Norris is one of those kids.

Norris is a sophomore from Dubois, Wyoming who was recently named the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming's 'Youth of the Year.'

She was awarded this distinction at the organization's 24th Annual Awards and Recognition Breakfast on Wednesday, September 14.

"As the child of a single mother who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Isabell had to learn life lessons more quickly," a press release from the Clubs stated. "She credits the Boys & Girls Club with teaching her leadership and independence. After her mother suffered a recent stroke, Isabell had to teach her to walk and talk again. Through this experience, she grew in leadership, courage and empathy."

All of these characteristics, and more, make for a pretty incredible human being.

The release stated that, in deciding the Youth of the Year, five separate categories are equally weighed.

"The winning youth is the individual who best embodies the qualities of strong character, leadership, and confidence," the release said.

Four different young people were selected as finalists for the Youth of the Year. Each person presented a three-minute speech to a panel of judges and they also participated in individual interviews with the judges.

Norris was chosen among a group of incredible kiddos.

In addition to the title, and a plaque acknowledging her as the Youth of the Year, Norris also received a $7,500 scholarship via the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming Scholarship Education Fund, endowed by the late Ruth R. Ellbogen. She will represent Wyoming at the National Youth of the Year competition next February.

“I don't think I would be the person I am today without the leadership the Club has given me," Norris said.

The release noted that Norris is a straight-A student who, in addition to her schooling, participates in basketball, volleyball, and track. Norris loves animals and hopes to one day be a veterinarian.

“In addition to the Club and my family, my horses have always helped me when I'm in a rough place," Norris said. "They’ve always been there for me. When I am struggling with handling everything at home I know that there is always a place to go to clear my head and get back onto my feet again."

Whether it was in nature, with her four-legged friends, at the Club, in school, or at home, Isabell Norris has proven herself to be an exceptional young person who will, no doubt, change the world for the better.

“I am so incredibly proud of Bell and all of her hard work," said Lauren Giambalvo, the Assistant Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Dubois. "She is so deserving of the Youth of the Year award, and I look forward to witnessing all of her success in the coming years. She has a great future ahead of her and the courage and tenacity to achieve her dreams."

Photo Courtesy of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming
Photo Courtesy of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming
Photo Courtesy of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming
Photo Courtesy of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming

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