Shonquell is an alum of the Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills and received the 2013 Youth of the Year award. He is a student at Sandhills Community College and works part time at The Fresh Market. He is one busy man, but he took the time to sit down with us and talk a bit about his experience with the Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills.
“I joined the Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills, because I wanted to stay focused on what I needed to be doing to get to where I needed to be towards my education and to keep me involved and active. The club had tutors in place when needed. Also they had staff that could help guide me along. They also gave me the opportunity to apply for scholarships and to help other boys and girls see and reach their potential. By joining the club, you get a chance to be yourself, not to give up, believe in yourself, be honest and know that you can achieve anything that you put in your mind to do. To know that the obstacles are hurdles you take towards your success and remember that the impossible is possible.”
How the Boys & Girls Club Impacted Me
“I would first like to start of by saying thank you to the Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills. Thank you for all you do for the kids in the area that have nowhere to turn. Thank you for feeding all kids, especially the ones that don’t get a meal at home. Thank you for taking kids on trips, because some never get a chance to leave this area. The Club is an amazing place for kids of all ages and serves kids to the best of their knowledge. The Club has impacted so many kids in positive ways, and one of those kids is me.
Not because I wanted to, but because I had to, I’ve been coming to the Club since age 6. I wasn’t so much a troubled kid, but I had some attitude problems, because I really didn’t understand myself and how to treat other kids. Their teachings didn’t change me at once, but it sure started having an impact on me over time. By the time I was 12, as my Mama can say, I started feeling myself and wanted to do my own thing. Once again the Club reminded me who I was, taught me the pros and cons of growing up and becoming a teenager, but most of all, they would not give up on me. The staff at the Club taught me that as becoming a teenager, there were going to be bumps that I would have to go over but through good teaching and guidance, it wouldn’t overtake me. As a teenager, you know what is being said and taught to you is right, but you have to keep face and act hard. At the end of the day, when you get by yourself, those great teaching come back and play in your head. All of a sudden, I found myself calming down and doing what was right without anyone having to get on to me.
As I turned 14 years old, the teachings became a little different, but by far was the most helpful. The Boys & Girls Club and its staff taught me about real life and sooner rather than later, I would reach the real world and all it had to offer. For some reason, I thought that was a good thing and being in the real world and in the streets was what I wanted and what I was going to have. I started slowly but surely slipping back into old bad habits and found myself getting into trouble tat I should not have been getting into. I stopped going to the Boys & Girls Club, because I thought I wanted to be in the streets.
The church and the Boys & Girls Club was my safe place, and I knew I could not escape the church, so I chose to leave the Club. I knew that if I went back to the Club, its teachings and the staff that impacted me the most would get me sure enough. Little did I know that the Bible and its teachings (train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it: Proverbs 22:6) not only reached me at church but everywhere I went. I quickly got things back together, and I can stand proud and say that because of the Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills and all the positive teachings and discipline, I am a changed person inside and out.
Thank you once again to the Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills, and I will forever be glad that I am and was a part of this organization.”