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Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana to celebrate 50th anniversary with signature gala

Executive Officer Gayle Benson is honorary chair of the event

September 17, 2015. New Orleans, LA. Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana will host the Great Futures Gala – Celebrating 50 Years of Boys & Girls Clubs in greater New Orleanson Friday, October 16, 2015 at Mardi Gras World in New Orleans. 

The event is being presented by Chevron and will be hosted by honorary chair, Mrs. Gayle Bensonof the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans. The event will feature live entertainment, celebrity Boys & Girls Clubs alumni guests, silent and live auctions and many opportunities to learn about how the Boys & Girls Clubs experience changes the lives of children and teens in our community.

"We are so grateful that Chevron and Mrs. Benson have committed to supporting the important work that Boys & Girls Clubs are doing to help children, especially those most in need, in the greater New Orleans area," said Keila Stovall, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana. "We thank them not only for their support, but for asking others in the community to become involved with our organization and mission."

Mike Illanne, Chevron's Gulf of Mexico Business Unit Vice President, recently joined the Board of Directors for Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana.  "On behalf of Chevron, we are honored to partner with Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana and celebrate the organization's commitment to providing at-risk youth with access to programs centered on academic success, healthy lifestyles and community service," said Mr. Illanne. "We also ask others across our region to invest in great futures for the young men and women who attend Boys & Girls Clubs by participating in the Great Futures Gala."

Boys & Girls Clubs of America celebrity alumni will headline the event. Former heavyweight champion and boxing legend Evander Holyfield will share his personal story of how the Club shaped his life. American Idol winner and Grammy-nominated vocalist, Ruben Studdard, will perform at the event and also tell his Club story.

Holyfield will speak about his roots from the age of 8 with the Boys & Girls Club in Atlanta, where he first stepped into the ring at the Warren Unit and began boxing in a Boys Club before going onto a career that included winning an Olympic medal and four Heavyweight titles.

Studdard is an Alabama native who got his start singing at the Hueytown Unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Alabama.

"Evander and Ruben will share their experiences as Club members and the long-lasting effect it has had on their lives and careers," said Ms. Stovall. "We are honored to have them both participate in the Great Futures Gala and highlight the incredible impact that Boys & Girls Clubs can have on the lives of children."

Holyfield and Studdard represent an impressive list of Boys & Girls Clubs alumni, including the likes of celebrities and athletes such as Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington, Usher, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and New Orleans Pelicans Coach Alvin Gentry. Other notable Boys & Girls Club alumni include figures in government, business and media, including former President Bill Clinton; Dan Rather, former television news anchor; Howard Schultz, chairman of Starbucks; and Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of GE.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America's President and CEO, Jim Clark, will also be on hand to celebrate the occasion.  Mr. Clark leads a network of more than 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs that serve some 4 million young people annually in all 50 states, in large cities and small towns, in public housing and on Native lands, and on U.S. military installations across the globe.

 The goal of the Great Futures Gala is to raise critical* *funds to support Boys & Girls Club youth development programs in education, career, technology, the arts, sports, health and life skills and character development. However, the Gala will also be a launching point for discussions about the organization's long-term growth and the creation of strategic philanthropic partnerships to increase access to Boys & Girls Club programs across greater New Orleans.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana

Since 1965, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana has provided after-school and summer enrichment opportunities for children and teens in the greater New Orleans metropolitan area.  Boys & Girls Clubs are built on the belief that every child deserves a great future. Our mission is to inspire all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.  To achieve our mission, Boys & Girls Clubs are focused on encouraging kids to graduate from high school, inspiring kids to be leaders and motivating kids to be healthy.  Our vision is that every Club member who walks through our doors will be on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, showing good character and citizenship and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Today Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana serves over 1,100 Club members annually at its four Clubs sites located in Covington, Gretna, New Orleans and Slidell.  We are open during the after school hours and in the summer to children and teens between the ages of 6 and 18.  Clubs are staffed by full-time professionals who provide youth with programming in five core areas: Education/Career, The Arts, Health & Life Skills, Character & Leadership and Sports/Fitness/Recreation. Membership dues are kept low to ensure that all young people can afford to participate.

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