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Someone You Should Know: Setting an Example at the Boys & Girls Club

April 30, 2021 / By Lisa Verdin

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By Erik ThorstensonPublished: Apr. 28, 2021 at 5:33 PM CDT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Sioux Empire Boys & Girls Club recently named their youth of the year, a young man who grew up in the club and now is an employee.

Surafel Berhanie moved to Sioux Falls with his family from Ethiopia when he was nine years old.

“It was scary but I was excited and nervous at the same time. Moving here was overwhelming,” said Surafel.

It wasn’t long after, that Surafel starting coming to the Boys and Girls Club.

“He had obstacle after obstacle after obstacle whether it was language or culture of just being new and completely turned that around.”

He would thrive, Surafel is now a senior at Lincoln High School. A basketball star, who will play that sport in college. And for the past year, he’s worked at the Boys and Girls Club, working with the kids, who he was once like.

“I wouldn’t call it a job, I’d call it a hobby. I look forward to coming here every day after school, cause when I was little I loved the people that worked with me. So just coming back here and giving back to the kids, that’s all I need,” said Surafel.

“He has the capability to connect to them on a much deeper level than I think adults do. They are automatically warm and welcome to him,”

Surafel also started a club at his high school, which quickly grew from six to sixty kids.

“I talked to our principal at Lincoln High School and decided to start a club called “The Bigger Picture” which meets every other Wednesday. Just talks about what’s going on around the world and how we can bring justice and equality to Lincoln High School,” said Surafel.

Because of this, Surafel was recently named the Sioux Empire Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year.

“It was a big deal when I won it because I know a lot of people that could’ve won it. It was special that they chose me,” said Surafel.

“He talks about getting his teaching degree and come back and be a coach and do those things because that’s what was really important for him,”

“In college, I want to get a degree first and foremost and be the first person in my family to graduate from college, make my parents proud and after that we’ll see what God has in store for me,” said Surafel.

It’s safe to say where ever he ends up, Surafel Berhaine will make a positive impact.

For winning the Youth of the Year award, Surafel received a $1,000 scholarship from the Boys & Girls Club. Surafel will be attending Dakota College in North Dakota this fall.

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