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2012 BGCA Alumni Hall of Fame

A Lasting Legacy

Since its inception more than 100 years ago, the Boys & Girls Club Movement has provided children of all backgrounds with the opportunity to grow and realize their dreams. To celebrate the accomplishments of former Boys & Girls Club members, BGCA annually recognizes distinguished alumni during the organization’s National Conference.

The event honors alumni who have gone on to make major contributions in their fields, from sports and entertainment to business and medicine, from politics and justice to art and education. Their stories are very different, but all start out the same: with the life-changing programs, caring and attentive staff, and fun and safety of a local Boys & Girls Club.

This year’s outstanding inductees are:

“When you’re a kid, you just want to be a kid. (The Club) was that home away from home that all kids need.”

Powers BootheSnyder, Texas It was 1959, and it was the beginning of five formative years for 9-year-old Powers Boothe when he walked through the door of the Snyder Boys Club. Playing on the Club football and basketball teams taught him to work hard and to treat others with respect. After graduating from college, Boothe pursued acting in earnest. He joined the Oregon Shakespeare Company in 1972 and made his New York stage debut at Lincoln Center in Richard III. Boothe won the 1980 Emmy for Best Actor in Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones. He also starred in the FOX TV series 24 and the HBO series Deadwood.

“Coming from a single parent family … I can’t think of a better place to go. Thank you for opening up so many doors for me.”

Misty Copeland Los Angeles When Misty Copeland encountered her first ballet class at 13, she was too shy to participate. The volunteer instructor took her by the hand and drew her in – and Misty began dancing in the gym of the San Pedro Boys & Girls Club. She quickly made up for her late start, joining the American Ballet Theatre just four years later. Now the prestigious company’s first African-American soloist in two decades, Misty is committed to opening the door for more girls, no matter their age or background, to discover ballet. She participated in the “Great Futures Start Here” PSA and works with local Clubs in the New York area.

“I know Clubs save lives, because they teach kids to swim. It’s a big deal.”

Anthony Lee Ervin Valencia, Calif. Olympic gold medal swimmer Anthony Ervin got his first chance to be a role model as a teen member of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley in southern California. At the Club, he helped other members refine critical swimming skills such as hand placement and breathing technique. Before winning gold and silver medals at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Ervin claimed seven NCAA swimming titles at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2011, he returned to swimming after a short break and is preparing for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He’s also pursuing a master’s degree at Berkeley and coaches a children’s swim team.

“The boys … we were thugs back then. Thank you for dealing with the frustrations of kids. Thank you for your service.”

Cuba Gooding Jr. Tustin, Calif. The director of the Boys & Girls Club in Tustin, Calif., made Cuba Gooding Jr. and his friends an offer they couldn’t refuse – practice break-dancing in the gym with music as loud as they’d like, as long as they did their homework first. This bargain kept Cuba off the streets and on track to succeed in school. Later, he channeled his creative talents into acting, starring in such major films as Boyz n the Hood, A Few Good Men and the critically acclaimed Jerry Maguire, for which he won an Academy Award. A longtime Club supporter, Gooding is one of 21 celebrity alumni in the “Great Futures Start Here” PSA.

“They saw something in me and said what can we do for this kid. And they did everything. Amazing things have happened to me because of what they did.”

David Lindsay-Abaire Boston Playwright and lyricist David Lindsay-Abaire began writing – quite literally banging out poems on a typewriter – at the Boys & Girls Club of South Boston. When he was in seventh grade, the Club awarded him a full scholarship to Milton Academy, an opportunity that changed his life. Lindsay-Abaire hasn’t stopped writing since. In 2007, his play Rabbit Hole won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He later adapted it for a movie version starring Nicole Kidman. His recent projects include Shrek the Musical and the play Good People. He also volunteers with various youth theatre and arts programs in New York City, where he lives with his wife and two children.

“It’s not about where you come from; it is about where you are determined to go. I stand before you with a grateful and humble heart.”

Maj. Gen. Darren W. McDew Hampton, Va. Darren McDew and his three brothers attended the Boys & Girls Club for five years while their father was stationed at Langley Air Force Base. It was at the Club, interacting with other youth, that Darren overcame his shyness and discovered his talent for leadership. Today, he commands the Air Force District of Washington at Andrews Air Force Base. He is a general and a pilot with more than 3,000 flight hours in a variety of aircraft. McDew often speaks to young people across the country about achieving success and becoming leaders.

“The music business is not easy. I heard “no'”and “can’t” a lot. If not for that basketball coach (at the Club) eradicating that word “can’t,” I probably wouldn’t be here.”

Ne-Yo Las Vegas The streets of Las Vegas were decidedly not kid-friendly when Ne-Yo was growing up. But the young man found safety and guidance at his Boys & Girls Club, where the coach always put him in the game, even though basketball was not his greatest talent. The experience taught him to reach for his dreams. A Grammy winner, Ne-Yo has penned hit songs for performers like Beyoncé and Rihanna. He also recorded three platinum albums of his own. Ne-Yo has given back generously to Club youth, personally delivering toys, electronics, bicycles – and hugs – at Clubhouses around the country. He also appears in the “Great Futures Start Here” PSA.

“Because of the Boys Club, CC is at Yankee Stadium.” Margie SabathiaMother of CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia Vallejo, Calif. For seven years, the Continentals of Omega Boys & Girls Club offered CC Sabathia a safe place to go after school. The Club also provided his first chance to attend a Major League Baseball game and to meet his hero, Oakland A’s pitcher Dave Stewart. Mr. Graham, the Club director and mentor to young CC, always found time to help with homework or offer advice. Sabathia is now the New York Yankees’ top pitcher. He and his wife, Amber, run a charitable foundation whose beneficiaries have included Omega Club, the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark and other youth-serving organizations.

“You have saved lives; you have made lives. And you have made America and Indian Country a better place.”

Ernest Stevens Jr. Oneida, Wis. At age 15, Ernie Stevens drove a car, worked full-time and considered himself a grown man. His mentors at the Oneida Boys Club taught him how to be a kid again, he says. Club staff provided Ernie with much-needed male role models. They also gave him the chance to compete in sports, helped him develop self-discipline – and convinced him to return to school. Stevens has served as councilman for the Oneida Nation and a leader for the National Congress of American Indians. He is now chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association and a respected Native American civil rights advocate who supports local Clubs.

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