Deidre James broadcasts praises of Boys & Girls Clubs

Mar. 14, 2013 @ 02:39 PM

Deidre James and the kids in her south High Point neighborhood had two afterschool options growing up.
“You could stay on the corner and hang out — and possibly get into some illegal activities — or you could cross the street and go to the Boys & Girls Club,” recalls James, well-known in the Triad as a member of the popular “Two Guys Named Chris” morning radio show on Rock 92.
“It was a positive alternative to hanging out on the corner, and most of the boys and girls in my neighborhood chose that positive option.”
James says joining the club went a long way toward shaping her into the woman she is today.
“I credit the staff,” she says. “The way I looked at them was like extended aunts and uncles who would look out for us. They knew if they didn’t put enough effort into helping us grow, we would come up short as a community in the future, because we would be a product of what they did. They put their heart and soul into it.”
James will be the guest speaker at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater High Point’s annual Stake & Burger fundraiser Monday, during which she’ll share what the organization means to her.
“I think my story is a testament that with the right support system and drive, you can overcome,” she says. “Your situation is not necessarily a handicap — it’s just a circumstance to overcome. I’m glad the Boys & Girls Club thought of me to come back, because I feel like I’ve made them proud.”
During the 1980s and ’90s, James grew up in a single-parent home in the old Springfield public housing community, which has since been demolished. She and her brother, Shawn, joined the Springfield chapter of the Boys & Girls Clubs when it opened in the mid-1980s.
“When we got home from school, we would go to the club and do activities until 6 o’clock, when our mom came home from work,” James recalls. “My brother was into athletics, and I was into arts and crafts, so they had something for both of us to get into.”
Something positive to get into, that is, which is significant when you live in a low-income, crime-prone neighborhood. James remembers that the club also took members on field trips — to plays and concerts, to a community swimming pool, even to the circus at the Greensboro Coliseum.
“We did things that I don’t think a lot of children who grew up with me would’ve been able to do otherwise,” she says. “They were showing us there was more to do in life than just in the community we lived in. It made me dream bigger and want to do more with my life.”
James said she still stays in touch with former Springfield staff member Danny McDonald, who now works at the Carson Stout club.
“Danny was the guy you could always go to,” she recalls. “He was a father figure to so many kids there — he was the only male role model that many of the kids had.”
In addition to James, who will emcee the fundraiser Monday, the organization’s Youth of the Year, A’Ozjah Robinson, will also share her story.
The evening will also include live and silent auctions, with proceeds benefiting Boys & Girls Clubs. Auction items range from furniture, jewelry and a weekend getaway in the mountains to lunch for four with Rep. Howard Coble, R-6th. There will also be golf outings, sporting event tickets, an overnight stay at the J.H. Adams Inn, and gift certificates, among other items.
Club members will also perform during the evening.
“There will also be two club members sitting at each table, so guests will get to interact with our club members and hear firsthand what the experience of being in the club has been like for them,” says Holly Ferree, the agency’s vice president of development.
jtomlin@hpe.com | 888-3579

Want to go?

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater High Point’s annual Stake & Burger fundraising event will be held Monday at the High Point Country Club, 800 Country Club Drive.
A pre-party and silent auction will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the dinner program and live auction starting at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $125 apiece and can be purchased by calling the Boys & Girls Clubs at 882-2582.