For more than a century and a half, Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) has been providing the nation’s youth with a safe place to learn, grow, socialize, and prepare for success in their future academic and career pursuits. Over the years, millions of young people have benefitted from Club programs and have gone on to make major contributions to their professions and communities.
Today, BGCA estimates that the number of Club alumni in the world is close to 16 million people. To support these former Club members and provide them with opportunities to advance current BGCA programs, the organization recently launched its Alumni and Friends network. As part of the group’s work, BGCA oversees its Alumni Hall of Fame and operates various alumni initiatives. Read on to learn more about the latest Hall of Fame honorees and find out how BGCA alumni work in support of local Clubs and their youth members.
The BGCA Alumni Hall of Fame
While BGCA values the stories of all of its former members, it places a special emphasis on highlighting those individuals whose Club experiences helped to lead them to successful careers and/or roles in society. Each year, the organization recognizes top alumni by inducting a new class of honorees into the BGCA Alumni Hall of Fame.
In addition to accomplished business executives and government leaders, BGCA Alumni Hall of Fame members include well-known Olympians and professional athletes, as well as award-winning actors, musicians, and other artists. The Hall of Fame also comprises prominent military and community leaders.
The list of well-known Hall of Fame honorees includes top actors such as Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, along with successful athletes like Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Ashanti Douglas, Trey Songz, and several other musicians have also been inducted into the BGCA Alumni Hall of Fame. Other prominent members include the dancer Misty Copeland, politician Judith Zaffirini, and Olympic gold medalist Brook Bennett.
Meet the 2019 Hall of Fame Honorees
The BGCA Alumni Hall of Fame recently got a bit bigger due to the addition of the 2019 class of inductees. Although each of the seven class members came from different backgrounds and went on to pursue different interests, they all share the experience of finding success in their chosen field after benefitting from the programs offered at their local Boys and Girls Club. The 2019 BGCA Alumni Hall of Fame inductees include the following:
Colonel John Chu—A former member of Boys and Girls Clubs of Fullerton in California, Colonel Chu attended his local Club from the age of 12 through high school. He went on to graduate from the US Military Academy and now commands more than 6,000 soldiers at Georgia’s Fort Gordon.
Trinity “Naomi” Fatu—Trinity Fatu attended Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida and grew up to become a dancer for the NBA’s Orlando Magic. She joined professional wrestling’s WWE later in her career and has been a cast member on Totally Divas on E since 2013.
Denise White—As a member of the Escondido Girls Club in California, Denise White found the support she needed after spending her early childhood in foster care. Today, she is a successful business leader who oversees one of the top athlete management firms in the sports industry.
Tom Ehlmann—Tom Ehlmann became a member of St. Charles Boys Club in Missouri when he was 8 and maintained membership throughout high school. His Club experience helped to lead him on the path to his current career as the president and general manager of Dallas’ NBC TV station. He also serves as a board member for Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas.
Benefits of Becoming a BGCA Alumni Member
Regardless of what they’ve done since moving on from their local Club, BGCA invites all alumni and supporters to join its Alumni and Friends network. With help from national sponsor Keurig Dr Pepper and national spokesperson Shaquille O’Neal, the BGCA Alumni and Friends network recruits and engages with former Club members from across the United States and other countries around the globe.
Alumni and supporters who join the network have the opportunity to reconnect with other former members of their hometown Clubs while building new relationships with Club members and friends from other areas of the country. The BGCA Alumni and Friends network also provides members with access to scholarships, mentorship, and career-support resources. This includes the support and resources offered as part of the “Stay Connected” campaign for new Club alumni who are graduating from high school.
In addition to providing Alumni and Friends with opportunities to improve their own lives, the network makes it easy for members to serve as advocates or volunteers for local Boys and Girls Clubs. Those who become involved can provide direct support for Club activities and help champion youth programming on the state and federal levels. More information about the BGCA Alumni and Friends network is available at www.bgca.org.
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