He might be styling on the cover of GQ this month, but Denzel Washington also puts in the time to discuss serious topics like the future of this country's children. The actor recently appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe with Boys and Girls Clubs of America President Jim Clark to talk about what they're doing to help at-risk youth and how the club helped the actor when he was a boy.
"It was a place not only just to play basketball or ping pong or something, but just to learn," said Washington, who's been involved with the Boys and Girls Club since he was six years old and now serves as the organization's spokesman. "I had great mentors, it was a safe place. It was a place that made you feel important."
The Boys and Girls Clubs of America prides itself in helping kids through academic and social programs, introducing them to healthier lifestyles and providing them with a place to go during the summer months and after school. With the stat that three out of 10 students don't graduate high school on time (five out of 10 for minority children) and other bleak facts about our youth's development, the organization has rolled out its Great Futures Impact Plan to confront these challenges. The plan calls on legislators, educators and parents to take action on behalf of the nation's youth and includes ways to guide them down the right track by expanding academic programs, increasing club membership and attendance and continuing to promote child safety and protection.
"One of the things you hear kids, club members, talking about over and over is the safety of it. I mean what is their option?" said Washington, who lost several friends after they left the club in favor of the streets. "I mean young people are going to line up for one club or the other, to gangs, to drugs, to whatever it is, but the Boys and Girls Club gives you a safe haven."
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