FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A young lady at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne will be able to go to college on a scholarship launched by the Terra Brantley Foundation, Inc., with the help of several community partners.

“What can I do? How can I help is how I like to approach problems,” said Exaviona Roddy. Helping seems to come second nature to the 17 year old. Volunteering with students at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne, she serves as a mentor and a friend. “We talk about how everyone is different and that’s okay because there are a lot of different kind of people in the world,” said Roddy. “So we learn about different variations and how to respect everyone even though they may not be just like you.”

“Exaviona is already what I call a servant leader,” said Boys & Girls Clubs President and CEO Joe Jordan. “She has been a mentor to the young kids. She worked on the Boys & Girls Clubs junior staff and did a wonderful job building relationships with the young ladies. She just exemplifies all of the characteristics of a smart girl.”

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Roddy helped build a neighborhood playground before moving to Fort Wayne and getting involved in the Smart Girls program. She’ll graduate from South Side High School in 2021. Once she is accepted into a college or university of her choice that is in Indiana, she’ll receive a $15,000 scholarship from the Terra Brantley Foundation.

“I plan to go to IUPUI or Ball State University because they offer everything I’m looking for in a school and I’m looking to major in Early Childhood Development and Early Childhood Education,” said Roddy. She plans on being an elementary school teacher with aspirations of opening a school in the Midwest.

In her essay that helped her win the scholarship, she wrote about helping others while overcoming personal challenges. “I saw a lot of shootings when I grew up. I saw a lot of kids were not in school. I saw a lot of fighting because we had a lack of education, a lack of help, a lack of support. But you get yourself out of that by saying okay, how can I learn from that? I can I get out of the situation.” Roddy has gotten support from her family to get over the hurdles.

The Terra Brantley Foundation, Inc. was founded in 2019 by Terra Brantley, WANE15 TV news anchor. It awards $15,000 annually to assist a young female member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne Smart Girls program in pursuing a college or university education. The organization was formed to empower low-income girls, women and minorities in Northeast Indiana and Northwest Ohio with educational, life-enriching, and financial resources to help them pursue a degree in higher education at an accredited four year college or university and reinvest in their communities.

”After partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne on many projects over the years, I wanted to do something that would help youngsters in its Smart Girls program get to the next level,” said Brantley. “Providing a financial resource to help them attain a college education is fundamental in their socioeconomic development and evolution.”

The Terra Brantley Foundation has partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne, Sweetwater Sound, Parkview Health, Summit City Chevrolet, Heffner Foundation, LiUNA! Local 213 and Indiana Tech to provide an annual $15,000 Smart Girls Scholarship to a female high school student and member of the Smart Girls program ages 16 to 18, who will graduate from high school and pursue a college/university education and subsequent degree in Indiana. It is the first scholarship in the Smart Girls 15 year history at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne.

“The world is wide open for her because she has the right mentality. She’s not afraid of hard work and she’s a people builder,” said Jordan.

“You can always have an opportunity somewhere down the road there will be many opportunities for you to change your life around,” said Roddy.

Exaviona Roddy is the first recipient of the Terra Brantley Foundation Smart Girls scholarship. She is active on the Academic Team at South Side High School and is a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne where she excels in the Smart Girls program, Girls Scouts, and is also a Junior Staff member.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne Smart Girls program helps school age girls develop and adopt a healthy attitude and lifestyle, sustain a positive self-concept, sound decision-making skills and mentor relationships. The program focuses on health, fitness, education and self-esteem enhancement. The Smart Girls program offers the tools to help female Club members reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible women.

“We are extremely grateful to the Terra Brantley Foundation, Inc. for providing this life changing opportunity to one of our Smart Girl club members“, said Jordan. “Terra Brantley and the generosity of the Foundation is a superb example of making a significant impact and investing in our children and our future leaders.”

Initially the scholarship announcement was going to be made at the 2020 Smart Girls/Brilliant Women luncheon that was scheduled in November, but it was canceled because of COVID-19. A reception is tentatively planned for the Spring of 2021.

The Boys and Girls Club of Fort Wayne (BGCFW) is a non-profit organization that provides structured after-school programs that emphasize academic success, good character, citizenship and healthy lifestyles. Each year, nearly 3000 school aged boys and girls attend life changing programs at one of five club locations in Fort Wayne.