Boys & Girls Clubs of America will induct nine new Club alumni into their Alumni Hall of Fame during a ceremony this week in San Diego, California.
For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs around the country have provided kids and teens of all backgrounds, the opportunity to achieve great futures. To celebrate the accomplishments of former Boys & Girls Club members, the organization annually recognizes distinguished alumni, including these nine inductees who have excelled to the top of their respective fields.
The ceremony will be hosted by Emmy and Tony-award winning actor and Club alum Courtney B. Vance, and will honor alumni who have gone on from their Boys & Girls Club to make major contributions in their professions, from sports to entertainment to the military and more. Each of these leaders has followed a unique path, yet they all share a similar beginning – with the life-changing programs, caring staff and the fun, safe environment of a Boys & Girls Club.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Alumni Hall of Fame “Class of 2018” inductees include: Emmy-award winning journalist, Ed Arnold; Department of Defense, Senior Program Analyst for Community and Family Policy, Candace Bird, Ph. D; Orlando Magic Executive, Becky Bonner; two time NBA Champion, Matt Bonner; NFL Hall of Famer, Terrell Davis; global multi-platinum recording artist, Jason Derulo; 12-time World Champion, Hulk Hogan; U.S. Army Lieutenant General Leslie C. Smith; and Olympic gold medalist snowboarder, Shaun White.
“It is an incredible honor to recognize Boys & Girls Club alumni who are leaders in their industries and have made a difference in the lives of so many,” said Jim Clark, president & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “This new class will serve as impressive role models for the next generation of Club kids and teens, inspiring the nearly 4 million youth in our Clubs that they can dream big and achieve their goals.”
Boys & Girls Clubs Alumni & Friends estimates there are nearly 16 million living Boys & Girls Club alumni today. More on this year’s inductees:
The Optimist Boys Club in Texarkana, Arkansas, changed Ed’s life. The caring adult staff meant the world to Ed, especially the positive male role models he didn’t have at home. The confidence the Club instilled led him to pursue his passion for broadcasting, landing his first radio job at just 14 years old. After earned a bachelor’s degree in Radio/TV/Film from California State University – Long Beach, Ed spent more than 30 years as an Emmy Award winning sportscaster and anchor for KTLA-TV and KABC-TV in Los Angeles. Today, Ed is the co-host and managing editor of the PBS SoCal news magazine “Real Orange.” To help kids as the Optimist Boys Club once helped him, Ed co-founded the Boys Club of Fountain Valley in 1967, now known as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley.
Candace Bird, Ph. D.
At just 5 years old, Candace could be found wherever the books were at the Central Boys & Girls Club. It’s where she developed her love for reading, and knew she was special as Club staff praised her reading skills. As Chief of Child & Youth Programs for the U.S. Air Force from 2012 to 2016, Dr. Bird oversaw policy, planning and resource management of Air Force Child Development Centers, Family Child Care Programs, School Age Care Programs and Boys & Girls Clubs America-affiliated Youth Centers. She has served military family programs for 20 years as a caregiver, program coordinator, director, major command specialist and deputy branch chief in Japan, United States and Germany. Dr. Bird credits the Central Boys & Girls Club for solidifying her passion to inspire youth to be life-long learners, as she is.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Hampshire first welcomed Becky through its doors as a second grader. Seeing her brother Matt receive a trophy at a Club banquet, inspired Becky to play basketball and win her own trophy. And she has certainly gotten her fair share of trophies. She earned a basketball scholarship to Stanford University before finishing her college days closer to home at Boston University. After playing one season of pro basketball in Sweden, she joined the college ranks with the University of Maryland and University of Louisville. After six years working in Basketball Operations International for the NBA League Office, Becky joined the Orlando Magic in 2017 as Director of Player Development and Quality Control. Many expect she may become the first woman to be a general manager in the NBA. Clearly, her time as the lone girl on the Club’s basketball team prepared her well.
Matt walked into the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Hampshire at 6 years old and discovered a passion for basketball. His first coach, Club Director Obie Parker, was a positive influence and a great role model for Matt. After graduating from high school as class valedictorian, he went on to a stellar basketball career at the University of Florida, where he once again graduated top of his class. Following a 12-year NBA career and two NBA championships with the San Antonio Spurs, Matt is now an NBA analyst for Fox Sports Southwest. He and his siblings Luke and Becky are the co-founders of the nonprofit Rock On Foundation, which provides a platform to support community arts and athletics programs.
Terrell walked into the Encanto Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego as a 7-year-old and fell in love with the sports programs. The Club provided him and his siblings with a sanctuary from the perils of their tough neighborhood. Terrell’s NFL career began in 1995 as a sixth round pick of the Denver Broncos. He went on to become the team’s all-time leading rusher with 7,607 yards and led the Broncos to two NFL championships. In 1998, he was named the league’s Most Valuable Player. The three-time Pro Bowler also popularized the “Mile High Salute,” a military-style salute given to fans and teammates to celebrate a touchdown. In 2017, Terrell was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
Jason Derulo Jason began attending the Marti Huizenga Boys & Girls Club in Broward County Florida at the age of 11. The Club offered Jason a safe place to flourish as his mother worked and attended law school. At the Club, Jason could be found playing ping-pong and performing at special events. Now he is a multi-platinum powerhouse who has generated over 9 billion audio streams. Jason was a featured performer for the 2017 Monday Night Football theme and his clothing line LVL XIII launched in Bloomingdales in fall 2017. He also has a label in partnership with Warner Bros. Records and a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music. Jason recently wrote and recorded Coca-Cola ®’s anthem for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ titled “Colors,” shooting the video at the place he first performed before an audience at age 11, his Boys & Girls Club.
Terry Bollea would ride his bike five miles every day to attend the Interbay Club of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay, where he loved to play baseball. He remembers touring the Club with his mom and dad, and being immediately impressed by its library and swimming pool. When he learned to swim and dive from the Club’s 10-foot diving board, Terry knew he could achieve anything in life. Terry, of course, became Hulk Hogan, a 12-time World Champion and key figure in WWE’s rise from regional attraction to worldwide entertainment powerhouse. The Hulkster’s undeniable charisma set the standard for future WWE Superstars. The larger-than-life icon went on to star in movies, television shows and his own animated series, and he became an idol to a vast legion of fans known as “Hulkamaniacs.”
Lieutenant General Leslie C. Smith, U.S. Army
Lt. Gen. Smith is an alumnus of the Warren Boys Club, part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. The Club played an important role in the young man’s development. It’s where he learned to play basketball, how to swim, and acquired life skills that directly impacted his long-term success. He graduated from Georgia Southern University as a distinguished military graduate with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and commissioned a Lieutenant by the United States Army. His military education includes Airborne School, Command and General Staff College, and the National War College. He also holds master’s degrees from Central Michigan University in Administration and National Defense University in National Security Strategy. An active supporter of Boys & Girls Clubs, Lt. Gen. Smith frequently visits Clubs to speak to young people about leadership skills and community service. Earlier this year, he was promoted to the rank of three-star lieutenant general.
Shaun White first attended the Club when he was 8 years old. His fondest Club memories are the gamesroom, learning and playing sports like street hockey and soccer, and Club staff who helped him with homework. Shaun’s prolific career as a snowboarder and skateboarder began when he was a child. Just 6 when he began snowboarding, Shaun landed his first sponsorship within a year. When he was 7, he caught the eye of renowned skater Tony Hawk at a San Diego skatepark. Hawk became a mentor, providing Shaun with guidance when he turned pro at age 13. Shaun’s remarkable achievements include winning three Olympic gold medals, a record 15 X-Games gold medals and 10 ESPY Awards.
For more information on Boys & Girls Clubs Alumni & Friends go to www.bgca.org/alumni.