Earlier this week, Shaq O’Neal was honored as the Today Show’s “Nice Guy of the Week” for his longtime support and advocacy of Clubs. The big (and nice) guy was accompanied by fellow Club alums and advocates Trei Dudley, our 2012 National Youth of the Year (YOY); Crystile Carter, Northeast YOY ’12; and Darrius Shaw, Southwest YOY ’10.
Shaq fondly recalled his days in New Jersey at the Newark Boys & Girls Club. “Growing up, it was a place I could go and get an education, as well as learn to play basketball.” (You’re welcome, NBA.)
Our YOYs did us proud, too. (No surprise there.) Trei told how the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, Kan., prepared her to be a role model. Native New Yorker Crystile credited the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club for helping her to graduate high school and go on to college. Darrius, a Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas alum and New York University junior, talked about the emphasis Clubs place on leadership and character building.
The segment ended on a goofy hoops shoot-around with hosts Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford. The fun little feature gave Clubs some great national exposure. Thanks to Crystile, Darrius, Trei and Shaq for demonstrating the powerful difference Clubs make in young people’s lives.