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Friday, November 9, 2018

Meet Asia Hughes - Boys and Girls Club of Muskegon and The Lakeshore's Youth of the Year

It was a night of celebration and anticipation at the Holiday Inn Downtown Muskegon on November 8th.  The Boys and Girls Club of The Muskegon Lakeshore had the ballroom to celebrate some of their members for their accomplishments in and out of the club.  Factored in are things like how they do in school, personal achievements and more.  But this year, there was a twist.  There was a voting element among the attendees and of the 3 finalists, it could go to any.

Founded in 2015 after a monumental effort on the part of so many in Muskegon, the Boys and Girls Club has begun to start to show that the mission....works.  It's a safe harbor to some, to others a place for character development or academics, others might learn about healthy lifestyles and some might need it for a sense of belonging, healthy relationships and fun.  The impact is monumental and it's growing.  There are now over 1000 registered members of the club who take part in the activities provided and they are given the opportunity to flourish year round.

Find the Boys and Girls Club of Muskegon on Facebook
With the programs and activities come the need for an occasional fund raiser and celebration of accomplishments.  The tables were set, the guests arrives and the honorees were all mixed in with the crowd.  There were some proud parents, some grand parents sprinkled in for good measure.  Board members, contributors and the average joe who just wanted to see a nice program celebrating young people.  As the night unfolded and the program got underway, we heard from the top three of 6 finalists as to what the Boys and Girls Club has meant to them, what some of their life circumstances were and how they have applied what they have gleaned from the club to be part of their life going forward.

Elroy, Michael and Asia got up and shared some thoughts with the audience of a couple hundred people.  Not an easy task for anyone, but they injected personality, insight and even some humor into their presentation.  Hopes and dreams were shared, some of the bumps in life were as well and you could have literally heard a pin drop when you heard what some of these young people have lived through.  None of which is even a senior in high school yet.  To say they have lived more life at 15 than most of us will ever see is an understatement.

After the stories, the voting took place on Ipads and cell phones and when the announcement was made...Asia was the Youth of the Year.  She spent her younger days in foster care and the experience was less than ideal.  Instead of letting it consume her, at 15 she knows that her mission in life is to make sure those who are in foster care in future generations don't have the same experience she did.  She joined me for a quick conversation in the afterglow of the ceremony, you can still heat the buzz going on around us as we talk.  Take a listen.

Smart, powerful, determined and strong.  Her story on stage brought the room to a stand still and her presence in person is one of a remarkable future leader.  I have done enough around people in my life to know that there are some who have been touched by their life experiences, those who have helped shape them...both for the good and bad and they are able to take all of that and become a force.  Asia is all of that at such a young age and her future...limitless.  It was a great honor to be part of the evening and to spend a few minutes with the kid, I promise you...there will come a day when we all say "We knew her when."

If you'd like to know more about the Boys and Girls Club of Muskegon, click on their logo below to visit their website.

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