JEFFERSONVILLE — Kyndia Motley, a senior at Jeffersonville High School, stays busy whether she’s doing community service, staying on top of her studies or participating in extracurricular activities.
Motley is the 2022 Youth Achiever of the Year recipient of the YMCA’s Black Achievers Program in Louisville.
She was also named a regional finalist for the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation’s annual scholarship program, which is awarded to high school seniors across the country. Each year, 150 scholars are selected each year to receive the $20,000 scholarship.
The process started with 68,000 applicants, but as Motley went through different phases of the process, she is now in the top 250 under consideration. She is one of four regional finalists from Indiana.
Motley said she was thrilled with both recognitions and was preparing for an interview in March to be considered for the final round of the Coca Cola Fellowship. She notes that her sister, Chloe, also received the Black Achievers Youth Award in 2014.
For the Black Achievers award, Motley competed against other qualified peers, she said, and she’s thrilled to have the opportunity to represent the program, which helps black and minority youth learn readiness skills. in college and career.
“All of the candidates were perfect for the job, and I’m honored they chose me,” Motley said. “It’s a blessing, and I’m so grateful.”
Motley has a 4.2 GPA and she has praised the teachers who have helped her excel.
“When you have great teachers who understand that you really are a dedicated student, they work with you and it really helps to have patient and understanding teachers,” she said. “Communication with my teachers has really taken me far, and it creates balance with everything I do.”
In addition to attending school, she is involved in a wide variety of activities at Jeffersonville High School. She runs on the track and was involved in the creation of a union of black students at the school, which is now called “Pour la culture”.
She is a student ambassador and participates in the business and entrepreneurship program of the college and professional academies of the school. She participates in student council and she is involved as a producer on WJHI, the student-run radio/television station at Jeffersonville High School.
Outside of school, she is involved with the Muhammad Ali Center Council of Students and serves as president of the National Youth and College Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) local chapter in Jeffersonville/ Clark County. She also works as a peer educator at Planned Parenthood.
She has been involved for several years with the Black Achievers program at the Chestnut Street YMCA in Louisville, and she served on the program’s youth senate to represent the organization. Motley loves to sing and she is active with her church.
She also works as an aide for an assisted living facility in Jeffersonville. She started working there when COVID-19 hit in 2020 so she could spend time with her father, who resides at the facility.
DeVonne Sorel, senior director of youth success at the YMCA of Greater Louisville, said Motley’s recognition was “well deserved” and she described her as a “dynamic young woman.” Sorel runs the Black Achievers program.
“She’s a pleasure to work with, and whenever we ask her to use her talents, she doesn’t hesitate,” Sorel said.
Motley said she thanked God for giving her a “heart of service” and she thanks her family, who showed how to serve and help others.
“I have a family of service-hearted people who have been very dedicated to the goal of ‘if I see a problem, what part can I have in helping solve it,'” she said. declared.
In 2020, Motley believes it was the first time she realized what she was capable of doing for her community as the country grappled with the pandemic and protests against racial injustice. That summer, she worked with the NAACP and coordinated with the city and police department to organize a racial justice rally at Big Four Station in Jeffersonville.
“2020 was a year where you could really find yourself with all that time on your mind, and also all that was going on with the Black Lives Matter protests and the murder of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd,” she said. declared.
After graduating from high school, Motley’s plan is to attend Illinois State University or Washington University in St. Louis to study communication, education, and political science.
She’s not sure what she wants to do after college, but she dreams of careers as a radio host and African studies teacher. She is excited to “see what doors open” in her future.
Motley said she wanted to send the message about the importance of people putting their mental health first and that “everyone has a purpose on this Earth.” She also encourages people to “always do their best.”
“Never sleep on your version of what you do best,” she said. “Your best can take you places you never expected.”
It also aims to help people “not fear the black word” and “take the time to learn about and recognize black culture and contributions” to the country, she said.
Motley has a busy schedule between school and his other work in the community. It can get tiring, she says, but “when you enjoy doing something, it never feels like a burden.”
“When you love what you do, it doesn’t sound like much,” she said. “I don’t realize how much I’m saying yes until I say it out loud or put it on my resume. It looks like my week.