Two Ormond Beach boys and one girl have won the honor since 2007.
BY WAYNE GRANT | STAFF WRITER
Marcus Edwards, 18, enjoyed taking part in the Ormond Beach Police Athletic League for several reasons: playing sports, helping others and going to Walt Disney World.
“I’m the kind of person that likes to help people,” Edwards said. “And you get rewarded by going to Disney. I would never have been able to go.”
Edwards said he joined at age 8 because he wanted to play basketball, but he later became much more involved. He became a leader in the organization in 2008, serving on the Youth Director Council, which plans service projects and attends a state conference every year, in January, at Disney.
And his willingness to help others hasn't gone unnoticed. He has been named the State of Florida Police Athletic League’s Boy of the Year for 2013.
Belinda Legut, recreation leader for Ormond Beach PAL, said the state saw the “quality” in Edwards.
“He’s a special, caring person,” Legut said. “People go to him with their problems. I watched him grow from a cute little boy to a young man. He’s always happy, always smiling.”
Legut said involvement in the Youth Directors Council involves planning four community service projects per year.
For one project, PAL members did a “reader theater” where they acted out nursery rhymes for children at the Easter Seals office and Ormond Neighborhood Center.
“Marcus is a very theatrical person with a wonderful voice,” Legut said. “He’s been in the church choir for years.”
Other projects included clothes drives and participation in the Home for the Holidays Parade.
On the state level, Marcus assisted Florida PAL with a field day, a cheerleading competition, regional and state basketball tournaments and conferences.
Edwards was shocked to win the honor and said he would recommend PAL to anyone because it provides something to do “instead of sitting around the house bored or getting into trouble.”
“I didn’t think I had done enough,” he said. “It’s a real honor.”
Edwards lives in Holly Hill and is a senior at Mainland High School, where he has played football and basketball and ran track. He plans to attend the University of Florida and become a physical therapist.
“I don’t want to play sports in college, but I still want to be around it,” he said. “I want to help people get back on their feet.”
“It’s remarkable that a city of our size has such an outstanding PAL program,” Commissioner Rick Boehm said.
Gregory Berry was Boy of the Year in 2007, according to Legut, and Marissa Moss was Girl of the Year in 2010. Both kids are from Ormond Beach PAL.
Legut said PAL is open to anyone age 6-18. Children mostly join for the recreation, she said, but tutoring is also available after school.
“PAL gets kids off to a good start and gives them a direction for their life,” she said.
Edwards is active in his church, New Life Church Ministries, and is a member of the National Honor Society, with a grade point average of 3.82.
The Police Athletic League of Ormond Beach was established in 1996.