Growing up in Mount Vernon, N.Y., Denzel Washington had parents who were both busy with full-time jobs. After school and most weekends, he needed a place to go. Fortunately, there was a Boys & Girls Club near by. In fact, Denzel recalls, he couldn’t wait to be old enough to join.
At the Club, Denzel found support, friendship and encouragement. Field trips opened his eyes to a wider world. The Club also motivated him to strive for a college education.
The two-time Academy Award winner credits the Club – and the staff there – for inspiring him to believe that he could achieve anything he set his mind to. “The Club is where I looked for hope, purpose and direction,” Washington says. “That’s where I learned to dream – and to think big.”
Club: Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
Member Since: 1962
Actress, singer and dancer: in the entertainment world, this is known as a “triple threat.”
Club alumna Jennifer Lopez is all that and more. Lopez honed her performing skills at the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club in the Bronx, N.Y., where she was an early member of the Club’s renowned performing arts program. Lopez made her feature film debut in 1995. Her 1997 portrayal of slain Tejana singing star Selena won Lopez a Best Actress award from American Latino Media Arts. A popular recording artist, Lopez’s Grammy-nominated 1999 debut album, On the 6, sold more than 6 million copies worldwide.
Club Location: New York, N.Y.