Rolling Out

What the Boys & Girls Clubs of America did for Ronnie DeVoe when he was young

Ronnie DeVoe says the BGCA provided for him and his family

Ronnie DeVoe is a part of the legendary R&B group New Edition. He credits the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for helping him through his journey when he was a young star. DeVoe was inducted into the BGCA Alumni Hall of Fame, and he shares that there were times in his life when the organization stepped up for him and his family when they needed it the most.

“When we didn’t ‘have’ — whether that was food or heat — the Boys & Girls Club made sure we ‘had,'” DeVoe told the media. “This was before [New Edition]. I’m talking six years of age. New Edition didn’t start until I was probably about 12 or 13. We used to rehearse before 1983 at the Boys & Girls Club.”

“We used to rehearse in [my grandmother’s] room,” he recalled. “We used to push the coffee table to the side and rehearse right there, scuffing up her floors. She said no more scuffing up her floors. We had to take it somewhere else, and the Boys & Girls Club opened their door.”

DeVoe says with the environments that they were in when they were young, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America gave them hope.

“The situations that we come from — I’m talking drugs; I’m talking guns and violence, prostitution, and all these different things that you’re faced with — there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and that was the Boys & Girls Club,” DeVoe said. “For them to be able to pour into us and open themselves up and provide an atmosphere that was safe and supportive, it allowed us really to become the people that we are today.”

With all the success that DeVoe and New Edition have garnered over their career, other young musicians would love to know what it took to get there. When asked what message he would give young stars that are coming up in the music industry, DeVoe kept it short and simple.

“The message to the youngsters out there: go to the school of New Edition, which means do your homework first and then go to practice five days a week, sometimes seven days a week. Hour after hour. Repetition. Never give up until the opportunity presents itself. … When it does, you will be prepared, and 40 years later — such as myself — `you’ll be able to do what you love to do,” DeVoe said.

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