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Mt. Vernon, N.Y., Native and Boys & Girls Club Alumnus Denzel Washington Returns to Give Back
Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington will host the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon (N.Y.) 100th Anniversary Gala on March 24
By: Jerry Milani
The monumental announcement brings Washington, a two-time Emmy Award, two-time Golden Globe Award and Tony Award recipient, back to his Mt. Vernon roots. He has been a longtime spokesman and board member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America since the mid-1990’s.
“Denzel’s presence at the Gala, and never-ending commitment to serve the children of our community will greatly enhance our major fundraising efforts for capital improvements to continue our mission,” said Boys & Girls Club President Danny Sawh, and Executive Director Lowes Moore in a joint statement. “The Boys & Girls Club of Mt. Vernon has been a bulwark against delinquency and a recreational outlet for youngsters for a century, and Denzel’s support of the gala will continue those efforts.”
With encouragement and lessons learned from the Boys & Girls Club, Washington overcame the tough streets to ultimately attend Fordham University in the Bronx, where he gained a roster spot on the freshman basketball team under P.J. Carlesimo, and earned his B.A. in Drama and Journalist at Fordham at Lincoln Center, and then embarked on a four-decade acting career that has been one for the ages.
Washington has said that he still applies the same principles in his acting career that he learned when he was a third-grader in the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon. He teamed with director Ron Howard for a public service announcement that shows how the club has impacted his life along with 20 other celebrities and entertainers, who were once members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Denzel’s career came to prominence on the hit television medical show St. Elsewhere; he received two Academy Awards for Training Day and Glory, and his recent Tony Award for the Broadway hit Fences. In riveting portrayals, Washington has played such true-life characters as Malcolm X, boxer Rubin “Hurricane”
Along with Washington, distinguished alumni of the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon include: Mount Vernon Mayor Clinton I. Young; historian and author Dr. Larry Spruill, PhD; Jack Haire, the President and CEO of Parade Publications, and former publisher of Time Magazine; the former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca; former NBA star Gus Williams, who enjoyed a lengthy career with the Seattle SuperSonics, Golden State Warriors and Baltimore Bullets; his younger brother, former Knicks standout Ray Williams, past and present outstanding NBA players Rudy Hackett, Earl Tatum, Lowes Moore, Carlton (Scooter) McCray, Rodney McCray and current Piston Ben Gordon; JB Smooth, the actor and stand-up comedian, best known for his roles on "Curb Your Enthusiasm,”
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The vision of the Boys & Girls Club of Mt. Vernon is to be the pre-eminent youth-serving organization in the City, developing the whole child, spiritually, mentally, physically and culturally.