By Lauren Reho
Each year through the All Sports Association, the Taylor Haugen Foundation, presents a trophy to an athlete who best demonstrates a balance between academics, athleticism, leadership, community service and faith. The winner receives a $1,000 scholarship, a $1,000 donation to the athletic department of his or her school and a bronze trophy with an eagle taking flight to symbolize Isaiah 40: 30-32.
The Foundation has awarded trophies since 2009 to well-rounded student athletes in the area. In this series, we’re tracking the past winners from 2009 to 2021 to see where they are now in their journeys. This month is Lydia Turner, 2019 Trophy Winner.
Lydia studies finance at Florida International University. One of the reasons she got into finance was to offer help to people who stereotypically do not have access to financial advice and counseling. Her career goal is to eventually work for an organization that helps people through financial crises. If she has to create this organization herself one day, she is up for the challenge, especially if it means living close to the beach, too!
In her senior year of school, Lydia is busy with lots of homework but finds ways to balance work, school and pushing herself physically. She spends a lot of time at school playing rugby, which she loves because of how empowering it is for women to be given the opportunity to do hard things and excel at them. She encourages incoming freshmen to try as many things as possible and stick with the most passionate things because it is what makes up a large part of the community.
“I like the verbiage of the Taylor Haugen Foundation family because that is truly what it feels like. We all support each other biblically and emotionally, and it has felt like being welcomed into a family since day one,” she said. “Winning the trophy meant so much to me as a high school senior, but becoming a part of the family is so much more valuable to me now, and I look forward to the opportunity to continue growing our family and supporting people who have been through a struggle for many years to come. And one of my favorite memories is steak night at the Haugens of course.”
The expression, “Don’t Quit. Never Give Up!” has meant everything to Turner and every part of her life since becoming involved with the foundation. When she first moved to college, the first couple of months were difficult for her to find community, but wearing the foundation’s bracelet every day constantly reminded her to push forward and to not get caught up in my situation. She then began distance running as a way to work through her thoughts and push herself physically. Every time she was tired from a full day, pushing to reach her mile goal, and mentally not feeling her best, she said she would look down at the bracelet and remember to keep going as God will handle the rest.
“Having T’s mantra so heavy on my mind these past few years has changed my college experience and will certainly be a part of me for the rest of my life,” Turner said.
The question of what her favorite Bible verse is was actually brought up when being interviewed for the trophy. She said her response is still the same to this day. She loves Galatians 2:20: “For I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” To her, this verse is a complete and beautiful depiction of the Gospel, which has been a constant reminder in her life to make decisions and base all actions on what Christ would be proud of.
Lydia said if she could go back in time and give advice to herself, it would be to remember that God has her back. There is absolutely no planning, timing or provisions that one can do a better job at than what He already has planned. Although it takes an immense amount of trust and release, she commented how there is no better feeling than giving everything to God and letting Him work through you. Once again, don’t ever quit or give up on yourself or His plan for you.