Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero of Tomorrow presentation. Photographed (left to right): Jim Powell, Dustie Amatangelo, Karisya ‘Ysa’ Moran-Adames, Mike Daigle and Janet Daigle.

Karisya ‘Ysa’ Moran-Adames was first introduced to Kiwanis 15 years ago, in 2007, when she was honored as a Terrific Kid in second grade.

“I was beyond ecstatic and excited to be recognized as a Terrific Kid at Mintz Elementary School in Brandon,” said Moran-Adames. “At the time I had no idea that this ceremony would be one of many encounters that I would have with the Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon, nor how much of an impact this organization would have on my life.”

Moran-Adames is now a member of the club that honored her.

“Fast forward to 2014, I was a shy freshman in high school looking for a way to volunteer and make a difference in my community,” she explained. “I was then reunited with the Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon as we went on a journey to charter a Key Club at my high school.”

In her sophomore year of high school, Moran-Adames took on the position of Key Club president.

“I had no idea how to lead a club or to inspire the Key Clubbers at my school to exemplify the Key Club motto, ‘Caring—our way of life,’” she said. “At the age of 15, the Kiwanians saw in me something that I wouldn’t recognize in myself for years—a leader. As I went on as the Key Club president for two more years, the Kiwanians continued to support me and push me to be not only the best Key Clubber but the best leader I could be.”

During high school, with the backing of the Kiwanis Club, Moran-Adames was recognized as a G. Harold Martin Outstanding Key Club President two years in a row for the Florida district and a Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero of Tomorrow, which awarded a total of $50,000; $25,000 was applied to her education and the other $25,000 to the organization of her choice.

“I, of course, chose the Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon to receive the grant, and they have been able to use the money to fund the Project SonrYsa program, named in my honor, to fight food insecurity in the Brandon area,” she said.

Since graduating high school and attending college, she has continued her involvement with the organization that had given me so much by stepping in to serve as the social media director and increasing club awareness online and by also increasing her efforts in Project SonrYsa.

“Fourteen years after I was first named a Terrific Kid by the Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon, I officially joined the club as a Kiwanis member this fall,” she said. “The Kiwanis organization has truly been the single most important factor in my life trajectory. The Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon truly embodies the mission of improving the world one child and one community at a time and has inspired me to help serve the children of the world. As a new Kiwanian, I can only hope that I can give back to the Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon as much as they have given to me.”

To learn more about the Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon, visit https://brandonkiwanis.org/.

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