November 29, 2018
This month’s member spotlight focuses on a young man that has a contagious smile and a warm heart. Meet Tomajae Vonsua Watson, aged 18, better known as TJ. He is one of those members that wherever and whenever you see him, he smiles and says, “Hi”.
TJ lives at home with his mother and his siblings. In 2011, TJ’s mom decided that she wanted more opportunities for her children and left Zion and moved to Lake Zurich. New to the area, TJ did not know anyone, so he would come to the Foglia Y on the after school bus every day and stay at the center until late at night. It became his home away from home. His current circle of friends are all people he has met at the Y.
TJ’s older brother, Valentino, is a huge influence in his life. “Tino” introduced the love of basketball to TJ. They practiced and drilled relentlessly after school each day at the Y. TJ worked hard to master the game and refine his skills. He reflects on the tough regime Tino followed during these practice sessions, and the hard work and perseverance has paid off. He is a force to be reckoned with on the court. TJ, now a college student, finds the time to work with young players in the Y gym and share his skill set with them as a mentor, much the same way his brother Tino did with him.
Another value that Tino helped reinforce with TJ was the importance of his education. TJ worked hard at his grades at Lake Zurich High School and is now attending the College of Lake County where he is completing his general studies. He has his sights set on transferring to Illinois State University and majoring in Computer Sciences. He currently has a 4.0 GPA, a direct reflection of his hard work, determination and influence of positive role models. He is also part of a student organization that takes notes for students with disabilities and learning challenges. TJ has the opportunity to receive payment for these services he provides, but that is not how TJ operates. He volunteers his time; it helps him give back to his community. TJ hopes to complete his education, secure a successful career and travel the world.
TJ is a remarkable young man who understands the importance of hard work, perseverance and giving back to others. He lives the mission of the Y and we are so happy to recognize his achievements and introduce him as a member you should get to know. Thank you TJ for sharing your Y story and we wish you nothing but success in your bright future.