Meet Austin, a nominee for Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year

Meet Austin, a nominee for Boys & Birls Club Youth of the Year

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Austin Leathers knows what it means to rise above the circumstances. His mother was only 15-years-old when he was born, and eventually, Austin became the oldest of three boys.

"My mom had two jobs and she went to college at the same time, so I had to stay home a lot and watch my brothers while I was in school and playing sports and all that," recalls Leathers. "So it was kind of really hard. But my mom just told me to keep my head up and do my best. So that's what I tried to do."

And it shows. Leathers is now a sophomore in high school, involved in sports, JROTC, and Key Club at his school, and he is a dedicated member of the Boys and Girls Club.

Leathers makes it a point to be a good example for his little brothers, as well as the younger kids at The Club.

"I teach them to always stay positive," he says. "And you have to have a strong moral character. And I try to teach them to be a leader."

As far as personal challenges are concerned, Austin has found a constructive outlet for dealing with stress and staying out of trouble.

"I play basketball all the time. Like when I'm at home and I feel stressed out, I play basketball. Whenever I'm nervous about something, I play basketball. If I'm mad, I play basketball. Whenever I'm sad, I play basketball," he says.

The Boys and Girls Club gives Leathers a place where he says he can come to just be a kid, and not feel like he has to be grown-up all the time.

"When I need help, there is always someone around that can help me with the problems that I'm having," says Leathers. "Without it all, I would probably be in the streets. Being in trouble. It's a place where you can go to, you can have fun, you could learn a lot. It's always a positive attitude around you."

As Leathers looks to the future, he looks forward with the ambition of setting a new standard in his family.

"I plan on going to college. And I want to do ROTC, and then I want to go into the Air Force as an Officer, and then I what to be a mechanic."

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