The Boys & Girls Club of America Induct its Newest Hall of Fame Members
Lee Edwards | 5/20/2015, 2:15 p.m.
There are now nine new Hall of Fame members of the Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA). The inductees were honored during BGCA's 25th Annual Alumni Hall of Fame ceremony held at the Chicago Hilton, 720 S. Michigan Ave.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 2015 includes: Vince McMahon, WWE CEO and Chairman; Trey Songz, Grammy Award-nominated Singer, Producer and Actor; Monique Mosley, Business Executive and Fashion/Music Consultant for “Empire”; Andre Reed, NFL Hall of Famer; Earl Carlyss, Grammy Award Winning Violinist; Larry Young, President and CEO of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc.; Ruth E. Carter, Two-time Oscar Nominated Costume Designer; Designer for the major motion picture, “Selma”; Denyce Graves, World-Renown Opera Singer; and Robert Gamez, Professional Golfer on the PGA Tour.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a 100 year old 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose programs and services promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence.
“Ensuring today’s youth have the encouragement and inspiration they need to pursue their dreams is at the core of our organization and the Class of 2015 Alumni Hall of Fame inductees all showcase how a local Boys & Girls Club can be a critical element to ensuring a great future,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “We are honored to have such exemplary inductees join the other prestigious members of the Boys & Girls Club of America Alumni Hall of Fame in its 25th year.”
Today, more than 4,100 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people annually Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide.
Trey Songz, born Tremaine Aldon Neverson, told the Chicago Citizen Newspaper that his experience with the Boys & Girls Club of Panama City helped him adapt to his new environment when he, his mother and stepfather moved there from Virginia when he was seven years old.
“[The Boys and Girls Club] became my place, my home until my mother got off. I played baseball there, I swam there, I played volleyball for the first time and I actually got really good at it,” said Songz.
National Alumni Hall of Fame Ambassador Courtney B. Vance, a BGCA Hall of Fame inductee from Highland Park Michigan, emceed the event.
“[The Boys and Girls Club] has meant everything to me because it changed the course and trajectory of my life,” said Vance. “It takes a village to raise children and two parents can’t do it themselves. They literally cannot be there all of the time because you have to work.”
Maryah Sullivan was honored during the event as the Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida Joe R. Lee branch as the 2015 National Youth of the Year. Sullivan, 19, a freshman at the University of South Florida majoring in Biomedical Sciences and minoring in Psychology hopes to become a neurosurgeon. She told the Chicago Citizen Newspaper that she joined the BGCA when she was six years old and views it as her second family.
“I am so honored to be the National Youth of the Year for the Boys and Girls Club of America,” said Sullivan. “I see being the Youth of the Year as a chance to share my story and inspire the four million youth the Boys and Girls Club serve each year. I see being National Youth of the Year as an honor to give back to the community because my Boys and Girls Club has done so much for me and it is not my chance and opportunity to give back to them as well.”
Sullivan said that she was honored to be recognized among Trey Songz and Monique Mosley and advised youth to “never let your struggles define you”.