Abbey Lovelace Surprised as Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year (video)
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Nov. 26, 2017)
Royal Oak, MI – Abbey Lovelace was just six years old when she became a Club Kid. At the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oakland and Macomb Counties’ Royal Oak location, she grew up with an extended family full of mentoring adults and other youth with their eyes on the goal of a bright future.
And now, eleven years later, Lovelace has learned that she’s been selected as the 2018 Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year.
The Youth of the Year program enables one teen from each club across the country to act as ambassadors for their club. They meet with youth from other clubs and gain leadership experience as a voice for the clubs. “Over the decades, these individuals have exemplified the Boys & Girls Club mission and are proof to the impact our Club is making in transforming kids’ lives. Our Youth of the Year winners have achieved success in a variety of industries, including medicine, education, entertainment, politics, business and sports,” said Brett Tillander, CEO of the Club. “Our organization has had six Youth of the Year travel to the Oval Office to be recognized by the President of the United States. Most recently, Alora Allen, who also was named Midwest Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of America, met with President Obama in May 2016.”
Lovelace brings a life of service and involvement to the position. She recently went on a ten day mission trip to Jamaica where she and teens from various clubs in SE Michigan brought supplies for students and displaced youth as well as visited people in infirmaries.
“We went to this place that was kind of like a Boys and Girls Club there, but no supervision. So [there were] kids with a library and stuff like that, but no one watching them,” Lovelace said.
The 17-year-old junior at Royal Oak High School has a passion for helping others. She volunteers with the Youth Abilities program where kids with disabilities play sports and games. “I want to be a social worker and help people,” she said. “Especially kids. I’m very lucky growing up. But I know a lot of kids who haven’t had the easiest life, and I see what having friends and support can do. I want to help kids so they can have a chance to grow up and succeed.”
Lovelace considers the Boys and Girls Club to be part of her family, and it has been part of her family since before she was born. Her father also attended as a youth.
“I’ve grown up here,” she said. “It’s helped me to stay busy and spend my time doing productive things. Everyone made me feel like I could be successful. [There are] lots of memories.”
Among the activities she’s enjoyed over the years, Lovelace has been part of BeFit, basketball, baseball and t-ball. She’s part of the Keystone program for youth leadership where she served as the President for two terms. And she’s been part of the staff since she was a freshman.
“Abbey Lovelace is a true Boys & Girls Club kid. Her passion for the Club started at a young age and deepened as she participated in our character and leadership development programs in her teen years. Abbey’s compassion for others is her most defining trait. She is one of those unique individuals who sees the unseen, hears the unheard and loves those in need,” Tillander said.
As the holidays approach, Lovelace and her peers will help with a food drive to feed needy families. On December 9 at Holiday Market in Royal Oak Club Kids will collect food for the holiday basket program to feed 100 families and 125 seniors. Holiday Market matches the donations item for item on that day.
Learn more about Boys and Girls Clubs of Oakland and Macomb Counties at https://boysandgirlsclubs.us/.