2014 Youth of the Year - Mia McDonald
Mia has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Fond du Lac for approximately 6 years. During that time, she has participated in almost any and all activities. Some of the activities Mia has participated in over the years include: Keystone Club, Homework Help, Minute to Win It Challenges, Arts and Crafts, Career Launch, Go Green, Cooking Club, Triple Play, and so much more. Mia is always willing to try something new and usually encourages her friends to join with her. Having that kind of leadership and influence on her peers is great for promoting program participation at Club. Mia is a great Club ambassador!
One of the activities Mia has been most passionate about is Keystone Club. She has been an active member of Keystone Club, always suggesting new ideas for activities and projects the group could complete. Even though Mia has not served as an officer on the Keystone Club Leadership Team, she has participated in many Keystone Club field trips and activities which involve community service. Mia has gone on many field trips to our local nursing homes and helps out with bingo, decorating Christmas trees for the residents, and much more on behalf of the Club. Earlier this Fall, Mia participated in a bully awareness walk around the block our Club organized. She also helps out our younger members by serving supper, helping them with homework, running Fun Friday activities and much more. It is a win for everyone when Mia helps out the younger members – they look up to her as a role model and Mia enjoys spending time with them and helping out.
Home and Family
Mia plays a vital role in the day to day functions of her home life. Being the oldest child in her household and having a single mother, Mia helps her mother out as often as she can. She takes on many household responsibilities, especially babysitting. Mia babysits her younger brothers on a regular basis, due to her mother working many hours to support the family. Mia is also supportive of her siblings and extended family and can be found helping them out in her spare time, even traveling as far as Chicago fairly often to do so. She regularly babysits her nieces and enjoys spending time with them. Mia is a very proud Aunt and loves being a positive role model for them. She completes many chores around the house, such as: cleaning her room, washing the dishes, cleaning the bathroom, living room, and dining room.
Family is extremely important to Mia, which a person can tell by how she interacts with her brothers. Both of her younger brothers attend our Boys & Girls Club; one is a teen member in the same Teen Center as her and the other is an elementary member. Mia is constantly looking out for them, giving them advice, helping them out with any type of situation at hand, and honestly, rarely argues with them at the Club. One would think with having two brothers in the same Club as her would cause a problem, but Mia views the situation as an opportunity to spend time with her family.
Mia is always willing to help out her family, teachers, peers, club members, and club staff. When Mia comes to the Club the first thing she does is greet staff members, asking how they are and if they need any help. Mia’s care, concern and willingness to help others prove one of her main passions at Club has been Keystone Club. She loves to help out and participate in the Keystone Club field trips and activities. She has volunteered through Keystone Club at our local nursing homes playing bingo and decorating Christmas trees, she has helped make fleece blankets through Project Linus for those in need, and she has also helped our younger members at our Elementary sites. Mia is always willing to help out with everyday Club duties as well.
Balancing school, extracurricular activities, and Club can be a difficult task for a teenager. However, Mia has shown she can handle it and has become a well-rounded individual because of her balancing act. To add to the balancing act, Mia transitioned from middle school to high school this year with extreme poise and grace. She made many new friends in extracurricular activities and is an extremely outgoing and friendly girl; Mia can talk to or become friends with literally any person she interacts with.
Along with working hard to achieve excellent grades, Mia participates in a fitness club, girls group and extracurricular activities at school. Her favorite extracurricular activities involve athletics. Mia was very active in track and volleyball within the last year. She tried out for the freshman volleyball team this year and successful in making the team. With her volleyball team, she also volunteered at our Club packing backpacks for a back to school event. Mia was very dedicated to volleyball this past year, which involved many tryouts, practices and games. However, no matter how busy she was with volleyball, she always made it a priority to keep in touch with Club staff and stop in every once in a while. Once the volleyball season had ended, she made the Club a brighter place with her more frequent presence.
Mia had a rough childhood, growing up around violence in her own home and negative influences. However, this has made Mia a better individual and strengthened her moral character. Mia has always been her own person and believes in staying true to herself. She never follows the crowd, but instead creates her own positive, motivating path that influences others to follow. She is proud of who she is, and has always been one to stand up for what she believes in. Mia feels being honest and trustworthy is also a key part in a person’s moral character and she always is just that. She believes there is no better person to be than you!
Mia works diligently to make sure she is receiving good grades in all her subjects. Because of her work ethic and perseverance, Mia receives excellent grades and is very active in many extracurricular activities. She is in involved in volleyball, track, fitness club, and girls group. Sports have required the most commitment, including tryouts, many hours of practice and workouts, as well as games and tournaments. Mia’s volleyball team also contributes many hours of community service. Her team packed backpacks at our Club for a Back to School event, held a Middle School volleyball clinic, washed cars and participated in the homecoming parade. Being so involved and committed to these activities has also allowed Mia to develop close relationships with many teammates and coaches.
Mia has set high goals for herself as she wants to attend Spelman College for nursing and is working hard to reach those goals. Mia has set many schooling goals for herself but knows she can accomplish them with the right mindset. Recently this school year, Mia suffered multiple concussions. She was not able to attend full days of school for a good portion of the school year because of the concussion and attending therapy sessions, affecting her ability to fully complete school work. Mia has been constantly working hard to complete work she’s missed and improve. She is determined to get back to where she was academically and physically.
Mia's Take on the Club
"The Boys & Girls Club has been my positive light. We moved to Fond du Lac to be near our family and get away from my Dad. My mom first signed me up as a member of the Boys and Girls Club to remove my family and I from all that was going on in our household and I thought it would be a fun place to go. Little did I know, the Boys & Girls Club turned out to be so much more than just being a fun place to go.
The Boys & Girls Club has been my savior, my rock, my start over. The Club allows me to have a future and actually made me believe I could. No one at Boys & Girls Club knew my story or what I went through. But the staff made me feel comfortable and I knew they were trustworthy, so I finally opened up to them. The staff mean a lot to me. They understand me in ways other people wouldn’t. Being chosen as the Boys & Girls Club of Fond du Lac’s Youth of the Year means I have to be doing something right with my life. I was always told I would never reach goals, but I am reaching my goals. I am doing the right things. I am proving people wrong that told me I wouldn’t amount to anything in life."
Mia's Focus on the Future
Mia is an extremely hard working and self-motivated teenager. She is very ambitious and has set many short term goals for herself. One of her most important short term goals has been to get good grades so she can attend Spelman College for nursing. To do this, she has been studying more, paying better attention in school, and making deadlines. Once she puts her mind to something, there is no stopping her until she is finished. Whether it be a school project to a task at Club, Mia will always make sure the job gets done and gets done well.
Mia has many long-term life goals. Mia extremely enjoys helping others and wants to turn that passion into a career, which is why she wishes to attend college for nursing. She would also love to earn a college volleyball or track scholarship. She also wishes to travel to a third world country someday to help children that do not have much. I have no doubt Mia will reach these goals because of the hard work and dedication that she shows every day. Mia has always carried herself extremely well and is very mature for her age. She does not wish to be classified as a “typical African-American” and does everything in her power to prove this stereotype wrong.