By Mark F. Gray, Special to the AFRO, [email protected]

Kingman Boys & Girls Club celebrated a half century changing lives in the District at its 50th Anniversary Awards banquet at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt, Md.  A group of D.C.’s most influential urban contributors were honored for their extended volunteerism that has benefitted the District for generations.

Kingman Boys and Girls Club Executive Director, Aaron C. Webster (left) and Ward 5 City Councilman Kenyan McDuffie hold proclamations from the office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, from Ward 5 and from the Mayor’s Office in honor of the organization’s 50th Anniversary (Courtesy Photo by Milton Williams)

One of Kingman’s most significant alumni is Ward 5 Council member Kenyon McDuffie. In addition to serving as the chairman pro tempore, McDuffie is also a member of the Council’s Committee on Business and Economic Development.  He credits much of his success to the foundation that was laid during the times of his youth that he spent at Kingman.

Aaron C. Webster (far left), the executive director of Kingman Boys and Girls Club, with the Kingman Hall of Fame inductees at the 50th Anniversary Awards banquet at Martin’s Crosswinds. (Courtesy Photo by Milton Williams)

The Kingman BGC’s impact on the community has gone well beyond the citywide championships its sports programs have garnered. It has become known for being a transformative place in the community that has groomed young people into educated professional leaders who’ve contributed to the quality of life in the nation’s capital.

Julius “Reds” Holt, a former member of the Kingman Boys and Girls Club, speaks on how the club served as a safe haven for him and many others, before being inducted into the Kingman Hall of Fame. Holt, was a standout at Cardozo and the University of Arizona and is now director of a youth organization in Arizona. (Courtesy Photo by Milton Williams)

Since 1969, 2,000 children’s lives have changed inside the building in the Logan Circle Cardozo community of Northwest, D.C. Many successful young residents have been changed by using sports as an enjoyable activity for young people, which serves as the impetus to future success. Their athletic programs have won national championship and many have become professional athletes.  The club has also been a sanctuary for many kids.

At the core of the Kingman BGC’s success are the efforts of its volunteers.  Hundreds of people from the community, not only give their time, they also contribute by helping support with in-kind financial sacrifices and by their mentoring through academic support programs  to improve literacy and increase self confidence.