Donte McDonald Jr., right, is the 2021-2022 Youth of the Year recipient of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis. McDonald has been a member of the Keenan-Stahl club for 11 years. He is with the Board President of Keenan-Stahl club, Bob White, seated, and Donte’s parents Donte Sr. and Denitria McDonald.
“Keenan-Stahl Boys & Girls Club has been an extremely important part of my life. Being a member of such an amazing club has helped me develop and grow into the person I am today. It has provided me opportunities that will help open doors to a bright future.”
Donte McDonald Jr.
By Kelly Sawyers
The Blue Door Gala, benefitting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis, was held Saturday downtown at the Crane Bay Event Center.
The gala is a yearly fundraising event for the organization, as well as, the event that honors a youth to represent Indianapolis and compete in statewide competition in the spring.
This year’s recipient is Donte McDonald Jr., a senior at Southport High School. He is the son of Donte McDonald Sr. and Denitria; and brother of Davion, a freshman at Southport, and an 8-year member of the club.
McDonald is a stellar student and plays basketball and baseball. He also is a Hank Aaron scholarship award winner. That scholarship allowed him to participate in activities for sports development. He plans to attend college.
“This was very emotional for me. I coached Donte at the club and seeing him up on the stage made me so proud. He’s such a great kid,” said Bob White, board president of Keenan-Stahl Boys & Girls Club.
White played ball at the same club with Donte’s great uncle Doug Nance as youngsters and sent a text to Nance of a photo of his nephew as the honored recipient on the stage.
McDonald and four other honorees – Cortez Carter, LeGore Boys & Girls Club; Heaven Longmire, Wheeler-Dowe Boys & Girls Club; Dayinairia Misiewicz, Lilly Boys & Girls Club; and Kylie Graves, Finish Line Boys & Girls Club – completed applications, wrote essays and participated in interviews with board members and community partners who were to select one youth for the coveted award.
“Donte is known around our club as a powerhouse simply due to his consistency and unflappability to making meaningful bonds with others.”
“There is something to be said about the kindness and positivity that exudes from him. Great leaders are positively infectious and he is a leader in every sense of the word.”
“He inspires me to continue to offer my best self to the kiddos we serve and I hope I have inspired him to believe in his greatness just the same,” said Isia Williamson, Program Director, Keenan-Stahl Boys & Girls Club.
The gala that raised $153,888 and surpassed its goal of $150,000 was emceed by Alexis Rogers, anchor of News 8 Midday and co-host of ‘All Indiana’ on WISH-TV, and Cameron Ridle, host of ‘Open Lines’ on WTLC-FM and WHHH-FM.
Attendees enjoyed dinner, a silent and live auction and heard stories of the remarkable lives of young people who have overcome challenges and distinguished themselves with outstanding contributions to their communities and their club.
(Note: Jennifer Chan, Porch Light PR, contributed to this article.)