This is the mindset of Mrs. Kewanna D. Riley, a young woman with a heart to serve.
As a teenager at Harrison Central High School, she was very active in the community and very driven to defy the odds. She set goals at a very early age to work hard to earn scholarships for college because her mother could not afford to send her. She graduated with high honors and was selected “Sun Herald’s Best and Brightest for Community Service”. As a result of her leadership, academic excellence and service to the community, she was also selected the Boys & Girls Clubs of America 2004 Southeast Region Youth of the Year. For over a year, she traveled up and down the east coast, sharing how BGC helped change her life.
While in Washington, D.C., after speaking to the BGC Board of Governors, she was offered an opportunity to speak in Orlando, Florida to over 3,000 executives of Staples, Inc. Following that, President/CEO Ron Sargent invited her to intern for the company in Framingham, MA near Boston for two months. Her drive for success did not stop there. As a student leader at Tougaloo College, she mentored underclassmen, was Sophomore Class Representative, a student recruiter, cheerleader, Resident Assistant, and Miss Tougaloo College. She was one of four PIRE Scholars (nationwide), selected to do research on alcoholism and drug prevention in New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She also conducted research on HIV/AIDS in Jamaica for two months, after graduating from Tougaloo College in 2007.
Since college, Mrs. Riley has continued to share her love and passion for the community at the Boys & Girls Club and abroad. In 2011, she was a featured member of the Harrison County HIV Coalition Billboard Campaign, spreading awareness on and near Hewes Avenue in Gulfport. For the past six years, she has hosted an overnight retreat for young ladies ages 10-18 at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast Forest Heights Center. In December 2014, her volunteers taught over 40 girls about self-esteem, dreams, financial literacy, proper attire and abstinence. Mrs. Riley also serves as a Co-founder of the Community Empowerment Coalition, hosting anti-violence rallies throughout the city of Gulfport.
When she is not volunteering for special events at the BGC or helping plan peace rallies with CEC, Mrs. Riley is actively involved in the National Council of Negro Women, serving as the Youth Council Advisor. She is also a fourth grade reading teacher at Bel-Aire Elementary School, where she has organized Toys for Tots with the U.S. Marine Corps and “Have a Heart for Reading” with other teachers. As a result of the commitment to her school and community, she was recently awarded Bel-Aire Elementary School Teacher of the Year, Harrison County School District Teacher of the Year, Gulfport Chamber of Commerce Elementary Teacher of the Year, Gulf Coast NAACP 2015 Pacesetter, and a 2015 Gulf Coast Caring Women award for mentoring. Lastly, she will be featured in an upcoming video with the United Way of South MS! This community servant is the proud wife of Adrianyon Riley, Sr. and loving mother of Adrianyon Riley, Jr. and Isaiah Riley.