FLINT, Michigan (WJRT) - (07/20/2018) - "Just stay focused, keep working hard, you can do whatever you want, if you put your mind to it," said Sparkle Taylor, who plays for the Flint Monarchs.
Hundreds of summer YouthQuest participants attended a Monarch's game on Friday, seeing young women who are pursuing their dreams up close.
18-year old Vivica Knight, a Flint Southwestern graduate who entered the YouthQuest program at the age of 8, among the crowd gathered inside the Dort Event Center for outing.
While this summer will be her last with the program, she'll take the life lessons she's learned with her.
'I made a lot of friendships here in the YouthQuest program," Knight said,"they're like my family and I really appreciate them."
After six summers with YouthQuest Site Team Leader Brittany Miller, it's the people Knight will miss the most.
"They would always be there when I needed somebody to talk to," she said,"they're like my big sister and big brother,they really helped me a lot."
The feeling is mutual.
"She taught me so much just about how important it is to be a role model for the young women and to show them that the sky is the limit," said site team leader Brittany Miller with YouthQuest. "opportunities are what you make them."
Case in point, today's field trip to see the Flint Monarchs take on the Toledo Threat.
Knight's favorite player is #23 Cryastal Bradford
"She a hard worker," Knight observed,"she never gave up on herself."
"Just knowing that you can, believe in yourself," Bradford told us when she asked what her message was for other young women.
That type of encouragement, is what the YouthQuest program tries to instill:
"The one thing we do a really great job of providing is consistency," said Miller."If she needs any support she knows that the people that have mentored her through the years are going to be there."
Summer programming this year includes an expanded emphasis on financial literacy through the Y Q Biz component.
Knight dreams of one day owning her own business:
"I see myself owning my own business, in cosmetology and early childhood," said Knight, "my own beauty salon and my own preschool."
"I get really emotional when I talk about her future because I don't want to say bye yet," added Milller,"I cannot wait to see what she does, I cannot wait to see what they all do."
Knight will be attending Mott Community College this fall through the Flint Promise.
For information on how to enroll your child in YouthQuest, which is open to students in Flint and Genesee County, just click on the link to the right of this story.