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Benton Harbor teen named MI Boys & Girls Club ‘Youth of the Year’

BENTON HARBOR, Mich -- For the third time in six years, a Benton Harbor Boys & Girls Club member has beaten out competitors from across the state to be named Michigan’s ‘Youth of the Year.’

Quincy Sulton, a junior at Benton Harbor High School, earned the title last weekend – the same weekend the Benton Harbor High School Varsity Boys Basketball Team won its first state championship in 53 years.

Sulton first joined the local Boys & Girls Club six years ago.

He found his home on the basketball court and in the club’s drama room, where he now teaches and dances with kids in the same spot he learned to be comfortable in his own skin.

“Coming to the club, along with some of the friends I had from school, we would play basketball and I got enrolled into ‘Passport to Manhood,’” Sulton said, “which showed me how to become more of my own person and more of my own leader. And that’s where it all started.”

“You don’t know what these children face every day,” said Victoria Bickham, Sulton’s mom. “So for them to have a place to come to and just let go and release, I just think that’s awesome.”

Brian Saxton, the CEO of Benton Harbor’s club, said the goal is development in a warm and welcoming home away from home.

Sulton is the third Benton Harbor club member – and the first boy – to win the state title in the last six years.

“We’re applying quality,” Saxton said. “We pay attention to our kids and the community needs. We have a strategy and, I think, a program focus that reflects the needs of the community.”

In between playing basketball with the kids who now look up to him, Sulton is preparing for regionals and nationals. Though he said he’s already met his original goal.

“Running here, before I even won locally, I always told my unit director that I wanted to win state,” Sulton said. “That was just the biggest thing to me. So actually winning here and going on to state, and then winning, it was so hard to take in. It was real unbelievable.”

Sulton will compete in regionals in Chicago in July. If he advances to nationals, he’ll be competing in Washington in the fall.

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