WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - A Rider High School student is getting ready to head to Austin to represent Wichita Falls as the Boys and Girls Club's City-Wide Youth of the Year.
Amaia Martin is using this opportunity to bring awareness to an issue that impacts many of our children, teen suicide.
It is an epidemic that is close to Amaia's heart, and while she is only 15-years-old, she knows all too well the struggles that life can bring.
"I've had craniosynostosis growing up, which is a brain condition," said Amaia.
She said it is something that has impacted her mentally and even with her school work.
That is why the message she is delivering for the Youth of the Year Program is "Don't let your struggles get in the way of your success," something she lives by.
"I might have struggles but struggles make me stronger in life," said Amaia.
Amaia realizes being strong is not always easy, and as she prepares to battle it out in Austin she knows back at home many of her peers are battling with something else, suicide.
"It's something deep in my heart because I've had friends lost to suicide," said Amaia. "I've stopped friends from trying to commit suicide, and it's something I want people to know about."
She said she wants to encourage people to reach out if they need help or if they know someone who does. She also wants to create programs to help those dealing with this issue.
Cara Sauceda, with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wichita Falls Southeast Club, said for a young person like Amaia to be so passionate about wanting to do something about this growing problem is amazing to see.
"Children can inspire an adult to do something so much better than an adult can," said Sauceda.
Sauceda said to have a teen like Amaia say if she is Youth of the Year this will be her platform, that can really make a difference.
"That is something that can push the adults in America to say hey this young person really takes this seriously maybe we should too," said Sauceda.
Amaia hopes her message will help children realize their worth and value, and that they were put on this earth with a purpose.
Sauceda says what makes Amaia so special is her heart. Amaia's time spent helping others proves that. Last year she served more than 100 hours of community service, and she participates in a number of programs at her Boys and Girls Club helping other children.
Amaia heads to Austin in about a month to compete in the statewide program. If she wins she will make the trip to Washington, D.C. to compete for the National Youth of the Year title.