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LIFT Teen Shines Bright

As part of our mission, LIFT is always looking for ways to empower Leelanau County's youth to discover and embrace their strengths to become kind leaders by investing in their evolution, autonomy, and character.

The perfect opportunity to put our mission into action? Invite a former LIFT teen to take part in an amazingly educational program: Diversity Dialogue.

Diversity Dialogue is a monthly program at The Friendship Community Center in Suttons Bay, Michigan, where we invite diverse speakers and storytellers to share their unique stories and experiences that have shaped them.

"We hope that through their stories, we will remind others of all that unites us in humanity amidst our different cultures and life experiences."

Let us now introduce you to Audrey Vang. She is a recent Suttons Bay Schools graduate who is currently attending Northwestern Michigan College. Audrey is of Hmong descent and will be sharing her perspective as a young Asian-American woman living in Northern Michigan with us. We are so grateful to her for sharing more about the Hmong community with us.

Can you introduce yourself in a few sentences?

Hello, my name is Audrey Vang. I am 18 years old and a Hmong American. I was born and raised in Northern Michigan. In my free time, I enjoy watching the sunset, hiking with my family, and reading.

What was your motivation for taking part in something like this?

My main motivation in taking part in LIFT's Diversity Dialogue was the chance to educate those that don't know who the Hmong people are. I also knew Audrey Sharp (the one who interviewed me) personally, so I knew it would be fun to participate.

Have you done something like this before?

I actually haven't. This was definitely a first-time thing for me.

What was your favorite part?

My favorite part would have to be when the people that were there in person and on zoom got the chance to ask questions. I was thrilled to answer anything they were curious about!!

Was this out of your comfort zone?

In all honesty, it wasn't. Which does surprise me because I never was really good at public speaking but I knew I wouldn't back out.

Did doing this help you grow as a person? What were three things you learned?

Doing this 100% helped me grow as a person. The big three things that I took away were that people in Leelanau County do care about what you have to say and are willing to learn more about different cultures, project a bit louder when speaking, and finally.. to relax completely :) !

We could not be prouder of Audrey as she took this massive step in developing her character and confidence.

If programs like this are something that you feel passionate about and would like to participate in, please email us at


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