Boys & Girls Club alum and National Spokesperson, Denzel Washington delivered keynote speech at Boys & Girls Club of South Elgin, reflecting on meaningful mission moments, empowering brand supporters and unifying communities in a shared commitment to serving today’s kids.
ELGIN, Ill. – Yesterday, Boys & Girls Clubs of America celebrated the opening of its 5,000th Club location across the nation. Located in Elgin, Illinois, the new youth-serving Club, boasting 20,000 sq. ft., sets a record for the legacy youth-development organization, marking the largest scope and scale the nonprofit has ever reached in its 163-year history.
Joining kids and teens of the Elgin community in celebrating Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s unwavering mission of creating millions of great futures were a number of noted dignitaries, including Boys & Girls Club alum Denzel Washington, who delivered the event’s keynote remarks as he celebrates his 30-year anniversary as the organization’s National Spokesperson. Alongside him were Jim Clark, President & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Cathy Russell, CEO of Boys & Girls Club of South Elgin, Chris Abele, Board Chair, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and Steve Super, South Elgin Village Administrator - among other distinguished Club professionals, community leaders, and elected officials.
“As we celebrate this milestone, we are honored and humbled to acknowledge that over the last several decades, Boys & Girls Clubs have continued to open in response to communities across the country seeking meaningful solutions for kids, teens, and families,” said Jim Clark, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Time and time again, they continue to see incredible outcomes kids and teens have when they attend a Boys & Girls Club, and we are committed to continuing this impact in the future.”
During a teen-led Club tour, Washington, along with Boys & Girls Club leaders and luminaries participated in a variety of activities in the state-of-the-art new Club, which serves more than 250 kids and teens per day and more than 500 youth per year. Olympian, Club alum, and Illinois native Jackie Joyner-Kersee shared her new children’s book, “Running for the Gold: Connecting Kids to Dreams,” with kids and teens, Major League Baseball hosted a youth baseball clinic for Club members, and WWE Superstars Xavier Woods and Raquel Rodriguez led a “Be A STAR” anti-bullying rally to encourage young people to treat each other with respect.
Additionally, Boys & Girls Clubs of America supporters and partners ensured the milestone celebration included impactful moments to benefit the community and Club kids. Bridgestone Retail Operations unveiled a 15-passenger van to help ease transportation needs for Club youth, meanwhile Buffalo Wild Wings Foundation donated outdoor equipment to enhance youth sports. The celebration was topped off with a visit from American DJ, D-Nice, who mentored an aspiring young artist as the crowd enjoyed Panda Express food provided by the Panda Cares Foundation.
For more than 160 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has opened its doors across the U.S. for kids and teens, providing a safe, inclusive space where youth can be themselves, build essential skills and find positive mentors who champion their potential. Ensuring every young person in the country has access to opportunities and experiences that lead to great futures, to date, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has provided over 40 million youth with mentors, meals and meaningful life experiences.
“This celebration not only honors the legacy of our organization but is a moment to recognize what Boys & Girls Clubs across the country, together with trusted partners, communities and mission-supporters, do every day to empower our next generation of leaders, innovators and changemakers,” Clark added.
Annually, Boys & Girls Clubs of America provides over 3.6 million kids with access opportunities that help ensure they graduate from high school on time with a plan for the future. The impact of Clubs is felt nationwide, as 83% of Club seniors have applied for post-secondary education, while 82% of Club kids believe that they can make a difference in their local community.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For 160 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has provided a safe place for kids and teens to learn and grow. Clubs offer caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Boys & Girls Clubs programming promotes academic success, good character and leadership, and healthy lifestyles. Over 5,000 Clubs serve over 3.6 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. 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. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of America on Facebook and Twitter.
Director of Public Relations
Boys & Girls Clubs of America