Face time: Shawna Albert
This Twin Cities Youth of the Year is going places, in part because of where she’s been: the Boys and Girls Club of Auburn-Lewiston.
By Mark Mogensen
News editor
Shawna Albert has spent half her life as a member of the Boys and Girls Club of Auburn-Lewiston. The recent Edward Little High School grad, who heads off to the University of New England this fall, is so respected she was named the club’s Youth of the Year and represented the club at the State Youth of the Year competition in Augusta last month. She talks about the lessons learned, the friends made and the confidence built over those nine years, with a special message to parents and mentors.
Name: Shawna Albert
Age: 18
You recently went to Augusta to represent the club in a statewide competition. And you delivered a speech at the State house. Was all that high pressure or fun or both? Representing the club in a statewide competition was more fun then anything because I got to show people what kind of person I have become because of the club. It was fun being able to compete against other club members that were good representatives for their clubs. It gave me the opportunity to meet new people and share my story about my circle through life at the Boys and Girls Club. It was a great experience.
You’ve been a club member since you were 9. As you look back, what good things did the club do for you over those nine years? Over these nine years the club has given me a place to go after school, they provided me with a place that would help me grow and develop into the kind of person I am today. They club staff is like family to me now. I count on them for anything, they are there for me whenever I need someone to talk to. The club has been there through the good and the bad and will continue to be a huge part of my life. The club has shown me that anything is possible no matter what obstacles you have to go through.
What’s the best thing about the club, something you’ll always remember fondly? The one thing I will remember about the club is going in there every day and having Joyce (Campbell) there to help me with my homework. I would go to the Boys and Girls Club and sit in the learning center from the time I got there until it was time for me to go home. I really struggled in math, and Joyce would show me easier ways to go about doing the problems.This in turn helped me become more confident in what I was doing. I was able to figure out the math problems on my own after because she helped me so much. This whole process made it easier for me to learn math and in the long run, I became a really good student in math. This I will never forget!
Word is that you and Joyce, the program director at the club, didn’t always see eye to eye. Why was that? Joyce and I haven’t always seen eye to eye because she is the one that made me do my homework until it was fully completed, and I did not like that. I was a typical teenager who wanted someone to do the work for me, I did not want to be shown how to do it myself. This made me have a really negative view on what kind of person Joyce was because it made her seem mean.
What changed? Now that has changed because I realize that she was only helping me, not hurting me and I am very grateful for that.
What’s your advice to parents and adult mentors like Joyce when they are tested by young people? My advise to them is just hang in there and continue to be their mentors. Teenagers, and even young children, are very hostile and will try anything to try to get you to do any kind of work you have for them. In the long run they will thank you for hanging in there and continuing to help them through their life struggles. This will also make you feel good as a person because you would have helped them become the great people they have the potential to become.
What’s your advice to young people who quite naturally are not always interested in working hard and following rules? My advice to these young people is also to just hang in there. Do the work and do what you are told to do now so that you can get it over with and not have to stay in school for more years then required. These years fly by and if you do what you are suppose to now it will be over before you know it. Putting in the effort and hard work now will pay off in the end, trust me.
You’ve been involved in a ton of activities with the club, your school and the community. Why? You could be spending your time watching TV, Facebooking and hanging out with your friends. I have been involved in a ton of activities with the club because I like being there. I like interacting with the kids as much as possible. Walking into the club and having the kids run up to me right when I walk through the doors makes me feel really good about myself. It shows me that I am someone they look up to and love being around. Knowing that I am someone the kids look up to makes me feel great. No other feelings could top this. Not all of the kids that attend the club have good people to look up to. Some come from bad circumstances, and knowing I can be there for them to look up to for the short period of time they are at the club makes me want to be there with them as much as possible. This little time they spend with me at the club could make a huge difference in a lot of the kids’ lives. This tops watching TV and Facebooking.
I was really involved in my school work because I like doing good in school. I like getting good grades and feeling good for getting them. I took the time to do my work and do it well because I knew that is what I needed to do in order to get those grades. I still had time to do the things I liked to do, such as hanging out with friends, I just did my school work before I went out and had fun. It paid off in the long run.
Have all those efforts made you a more confident person? All of these efforts have made me a more confident person because I know now that I can do anything I put my mind to. I proved this to myself by putting in the effort where I needed to and succeeding in more ways then one. These efforts made me realize that I can rely on myself to do the work and be confident that I will get the work done to the best of my abilities.
You just graduated from Edward Little High School. What’s next for you? Next year I am going to be attending the University of New England in Westbrook for four years to earn my bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene.
Do you think you will ever stop being involved? I do not think I will ever stop being involved because when I accomplish things it makes me feel good, and in order to accomplish things you need to be involved. I know I will stay involved mostly with the Boys and Girls Club because that place has done a lot for me. Now it is my turn to give back and help others like I was helped.
[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.