The road to the 100th Anniversary Gala of the venerable Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon just took a giant step. Award-Winning actor Denzel Washington, a proud product of the century-old youth organization, has agreed to host the celebration gala and benefit set for Saturday night, March 24, 2012, at the Rye Town Hilton.

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 (to which he recently donated $2.25 million), where he gained a roster spot on the freshman basketball team under P.J. Carlesimo, and earned his B.A. in Drama and Journalism at Fordham at Lincoln Center, and then embarked on a four-decade acting career that has been one for the ages.

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.

For information and reservations call 914.668.9580 or log onto www.bgcmvny.com.

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