POCATELLO — If you look into the backgrounds of those recognized at the third annual Kids Matter event Thursday night, a theme emerges.
Many of the kids who stepped onto the stage at Idaho State University’s Stephens Performing Arts Center play sports, where positive traits are developed, including those that make someone a good candidate for Kids Matter.
Trever Howe, who was among the youths honored at the Stephens on Thursday night, said participating in sports help make kids into “better people.”
He added, “Playing against other people and getting to know your opponents and your teammates better helps you to become a more friendly person.”
Kids Matter is an annual event that recognizes local children from kindergarten through 12th grade for looking out for their community and succeeding in their own right.
Nomination letters for the kids are submitted by teachers and community members.
Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad was the keynote speaker for Thursday night’s event, which was presented by Bayer and sponsored by the Idaho State Journal, ISU Credit Union and McDonald’s.
Howe was one of the 24 kids recognized.
The Malad High School senior is a multi-sport athlete who thrives on the baseball diamond and has aspirations of playing the sport in college. He was named a 2019 Idaho State Journal All-Area first-team infielder after tallying the highest batting average in Southeast Idaho at .542.
This upcoming season, he wants more, with eyes on a state championship and the Journal’s All-Area Baseball Player of the Year honor.
While thriving in sports, Howe still has time to perform kind gestures off the field.
For instance, he asked a special needs student to Malad High School’s homecoming dance this fall.
“She was excited,” Howe said. “She was fun to hang out with. She was really happy the whole time, so that was nice.”
Kaitlyn Pickett, an eighth-grader from Malad, was another multi-sport athlete honored during Thursday’s Kids Matter event.
Pickett plays volleyball, basketball and softball.
“I really love being active and I want to do something fun,” Pickett said. “If I stay holed up and I don’t do anything, that’s not going to help me socialize.”
She said sportsmanship is a key facet of sports and can be applied to other arenas.
“If you’re kind on the court, you can take that attitude everywhere,” Pickett said.
Another honoree on Thursday night was Bentley Pickens, a first-grader at Greenacres Elementary School in Pocatello who keeps busy with extracurricular activities such as dancing and target shooting.
“Even when it gets hard, he doesn’t give up,” said his mother Skyler Pickens.
Bentley has the “biggest heart for kids and adults,” according to his nomination letter.
Last year, he dressed up as Santa Claus and gave presents to kids.
“As he walked in, he shouted, ‘Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas,’ and all the kids’ eyes lit up like candles,” Bentley’s nomination letter states. “He would take one gift out at a time and hand it to the child he wanted to give it to until all the kids had a nice gift.”
The rest of the kids honored Thursday night were Alexis Crockett, Makayla Darrow, Xenophon Fleischmann, Alina Jablonski, Alexis Jorgenson, Vincent Juarez, Lydia Knapp, Paisli Larsen, Trey Lettig, Shaelianne Lewis, Gerti Losee, Zoey Moniz, Thomas Petersen, Peyton Poleki, Italia Rife, Alexis Robinson, Lydia Simmonds, Maiah Slaughter, London Stephens, Colter Wheatley and Victoria Lewis.