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      Quincy YWCA award winner fostered 25 children

      Imagine not only raising five children of your own, but also going on to foster 25 children.

      That's exactly what a Quincy woman has done.

      The Quincy YWCA will recognize Minnie Johnson at its Women of Achievement Gala this Saturday.

      She's the recipient of the Phoenix Award for women who've overcome obstacles to rise from poverty to self-sufficiency..

      Minnie Johnson said, "You would have to work hard and be very positive of what you want to do and go at it and don't look back. Always look towards the future because it's a better outcome to look towards your future."

      Johnson has raised dozens of children during her 78 years.

      What's your advice to parents these days?

      Johnson said, "To just learn how to love them and how to listen to your kids. If they say something wrong, don't tell them no all the time. They want to know why you said no. You really just have to rely on yourself and be strong. Be willing to learn about what you can do for others. As much as you can do for yourself, try and see what you can do for others. I always tried to help someone or help a child, and I don't ask for anything except they could say thank you.That's enough for me."

      Johnson retired from the workforce, but she wasn't ready to sit around and do nothing.

      She said, "Sometimes you get lonesome. You feel good being retired. But then you find something that you want to do. Take care of kids and that's what I've been doing. Don't let things get you down. Just use your mind. Cause if you don't use your mind, you'll lose it."

      Johnson had this advice for women.

      "When you get an opportunity that someone is in your corner, trying to help you better yourself and to love yourself and your children, don't take advantage of them," she said. "Take that advice and go after it, because down that path is a golden line for your to touch and make your life better."

      The 21st annual YWCA Women of Achievement Gala is Saturday, April 21 at the Oakley Lindsey Center in Quincy.