Member Spotlight Sep 15

Moments Make the Difference  Member Spotlight: Avionna

“Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future.” -Steve Jobs

Every day at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor, we are living in one of “those” moments—moments when we are indelibly impacting the lives of children. Eleven-year-old Avionna is one of those lives. For three years, Avionna has been a force at the Clubs. Her gregarious personality and welcoming smile have been a steady presence each day. Avionna was desperately missed earlier this year when she faced a life-threatening medical condition that required a lengthy hospital stay. 

Whether we like it or not, adversity is a part of life. Difficulties and misfortunes do not have to keep us from achieving or finding happiness. How we overcome those struggles can make all the difference. It’s overcoming adversity that helps us build character and develop resilience. Every challenge we conquer serves to strengthen confidence and the ability to confront future obstacles.

Avionna learned just how much strength she had this spring when she found herself in the hospital facing surgery, far from her friends and her everyday life. A leader at the Club, Avionna is involved with the Leadership Council, the Dance & Drama Teams, PeaceJam, and Girls on the Run. She is an integral part of the SMART Girls program. Acting as a Member Ambassador, Avionna welcomes guests and leads tours. 

Facing a potentially life-altering challenge, young Avionna focused on getting healthy enough to get back to her activities at the Clubs. She was looking forward to her place in the upcoming parade and seeing her many friends and instructors. Following her surgery, her doctor noted that Avionna’s passion for returning to her regular activities and the life she loved so much made a tremendous impact on her recovery—as did the support she received from her fellow Club members.

Organized by her SMART Girls peers, Avionna received get well wishes, cards and gifts that filled her hospital room. Her doctor even made the comment that he wished all of the kids in his care had the same level of support. 

After a full recovery, Avionna is back at the Club on a daily basis and is pursuing her first passion—acting. She recently starred as Miss Hannigan in the Club’s production of Annie and is back in the SMART Girls program, using her positive energy to lead her peers to make good, empowering decisions.

So, the next time you find yourself standing in front of a huge mountain that feels impossible to climb—remember all that young Avionna overcame to get back to her friends and her passions at the Clubs.

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