CHIAfE+VRES, Belgium - How much is enough'

That question has never been introduced to Sha'Air Hawkins, 17, the Installation Management Command-Europe Youth of the Year and part of the NATO community in Brussels, Belgium.

"This is one of the goals I chose to go for," she said with an aura of confidence.

Who is Sha'Air'

She is smart: the high-school senior belongs to National Honor Society and carries a 3.5 grade-point-average.

She is athletic: participates in cheerleading, basketball, cross country and track and field.

She is talented: plays the piano, clarinet, saxophone and trumpet in jazz band. Lends her vocals to such theater productions as "Beauty and the Beast," "Suessical the Music" and "High School Musical." Her thespian accolades have earned her three IMCOM-Europe theater award nominations. She also garnered lead roles in the Morale Welfare and Recreation production of "Breakfast with Santa."

Indeed, she is an incredibly active youth. During her four years of attending schools for community members of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, she has participated in Future Business Leaders of America, Executive Student Council and served as student body president. She donated time gift wrapping presents during Christmas for the Adjutant General's Regimental Association, and participated in Black History Month and Women's Equality Day observances, while often asked to sing for such occasions. Plus she volunteered at the Child Development Center, raised money for disaster victims and gathered donations for local orphanages.

"When I heard she was going to enter I knew she was going to win," said John Orme, SHAPE CYS director. "If she says she is going to do something, she is going to do it."

Hawkins said that mindset comes inherently from her mother, Sgt. 1st Class Sandra Myers, and her father, Johnny Hawkins of Durham, N.C.

"I never quit what I start," said Hawkins, who has an older sister Safiya Myers, 19, attending college in Greensboro, N.C., and two younger siblings, a brother Ja'Juan Hawkins, 13, and sister Samara Hawkins, 5, "That is what my mom taught me."

There are other life lessons she learns at home.

"I want people to know I'm a nice person who wants to help," she said. "I learned from my mom, a native of Jamaica, because she is always helping somebody. I see her do it ... who wouldn't want to help people because it makes me feel good.

She is often quizzed why her extra curricular activities resemble a complete list of CYS opportunities

"Sometimes I ask myself that same question," she said after compiling her individual list of activities. "When I first came to Belgium, I got bored because there was nothing to do. I got involved in theater - and more. That's why CYS has become so valuable to me."

Being from a single-parent home, Hawkins explained that CYS was her home-away-from-home when she wasn't participating in sports.

"It has always been comfortable and safe," she said of the facility and its staff. " I would come in here four years ago when I was in middle school to do my homework, put puzzles together, eat, watch videos, play basketball, meet new friends, listen to music ... that's what I love about being here."

"They offer so much," she added, "the staff is always helpful and understanding. This is a place (where) youth can build confidence and stand up to be their own person."

As she grew, so did her participation in CYS programs.

Her passion for caring and community service came from the Boys and Girls Clubs of America's Keystone Club, with piano lessons becoming the bedrock of her CYS experience.

Though still developing her theatrical and musical skills, she has already developed a stage presence. "I like being on stage and singing. It's just fun," said the North Carolina native.

She said her goal is to pursue a career in music.

However, "Music may not be a reliable career," admitted Hawkins "So I plan to get something to fall back on - possibly a double degree in business."

As for being named the IMCOM-Europe Youth of the Year, "Wow, its crazy," she said. "I feel wonderful because all of the late nights doing homework or helping other people. (It) pushes you to get to this point - a point that makes my mom proud."

"I'm happy for myself, she said through a large smile. "I'm proud of myself, my values and my morals. CYS lets me be who I want to be ... and that makes me who I am."

And her mom is proud of her as well.

"I am very proud that what ever values I have instilled in her, she has evolved into a young lady," Myers said.

Page last updated Thu July 31st, 2008 at 09:59