COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - As the Boys and Girls Club of the Chattahoochee Valley will soon announce their Youth of the Year, we’re getting to know the 8 finalists, including Lovely Foster - who cheers and counsels others, and hopes to win the high honor.
Foster, a cheerleader at Carver High School, teaches cheers to younger girls at the Boys and Girls Club, where she’s attended most of her life. The now-sophomore says when she was growing up, instead of cheering, she thought she had to fight to fix every situation.
"Now I know my worth...and that fighting isn't always the answer. It helped me become a better person,” Foster said.
She credits Boys and Girls Clubs of the Chattahoochee Valley for helping change her. Staff members say they love Lovely, calling her a go-getter.
“She's just like a caterpillar...Now she's grown into a beautiful butterfly,” Boys and Girls Club Art Specialist Deidra Bailey-Tobin said.
About the staff at the clubs, Foster said, “If you need help with anything, they'll help you. They have your back 100 percent."
At Boys and Girls Club, Lovely stays busy, from helping to serve lunches and snacks - and mentoring - to good, clean fun.
“I love my friends up here a lot. They bring out the best in me,” Foster added.
She also remembers being there when learning her grandmother, who she was very close to, passed away: “When I kept coming up here, it was part of my grieving process from my grandma."
Art Specialist Deidra Bailey-Tobin says she’s proud of Lovely for accomplishing so much, and now being a finalist for Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year.
"If it's something she really wants to achieve in life and is set for it, she's going over every obstacle just to make it. She's my little shining diamond.,” Bailey-Tobin said.
"I want to be a psychologist and help people through their problems,” Foster told us.
Lovely hopes to listen and give good advice in the future - as a job and as a volunteer back at these clubs where she blossomed.
"Even when I get older, I can come up here, still be like a counselor to the kids, because everybody doesn't want to tell parents what they're going through."
On Thursday February 7, we’ll learn who is named the Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year. WTVM is proud to be a media sponsor of the event.