As a busy leader of a multimillion dollar company, Pat Blackburn still finds the time to dedicate her personal attention and talents to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington (BGCGW). “BGCGW is not just a place for the kids to go after school,” she said. “It’s an organization that supports the kids in so many ways—it gives the kids an opportunity that they otherwise might not have to achieve their goals and their desires.”

Hearing stories from Denzel Washington and other BGC alumni made all the difference.

Blackburn says that she got involved with BGCGW five years ago. She was invited to an event where she received a Club tour and was introduced to a few Club kids. The event included a special Club kid alumnus, actor Denzel Washington. “After hearing all their stories, I immediately understood the mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. It raised my awareness and I immediately knew the importance of being involved and spreading their message to folks like me,” she said.

Blackburn, President, Director and Principal Broker at Virginia-based real estate firm, Gates Hudson, got her start from people who also believed in nurturing young talent. “I had the good fortune to work for a real estate family part time, leasing apartments at a very young age while going to school,” she recalled.

With a good understanding of the importance of mentorship and mentoring programs, Blackburn volunteered to chair BGCGW’s 2022 BlueFest fundraiser. The annual fundraising event is coupled with an open house, an auction and a talent showcase. Proceeds from the event support BGCGW programming. BGCGW provides after school and summer programming centered around education and career development, character and leadership development, health and life skills, the arts, and sports, fitness and recreation.

During BlueFest, BGCGW opens its Club doors and takes supporters, contributors and community friends behind the scenes of the magic that produces promising young scientists, athletes and artists.

Motivated by the kids, Blackburn drives forward with her leadership skills as Chair and head of the 2022 BlueFest committee. She falls back on the lessons that she learned from her real estate mentors and her biggest role model. “My grandmother—a strong immigrant from Yugoslavia—taught me how to work hard to achieve my dreams,” she said when asked about her own, personal mentorship experiences.

When asked what advice she would provide young Club kids, Blackburn said, “There is nothing you can’t accomplish when you have the desire—work hard, stay focused; be willing to learn, grow and change. And when you succeed, never forget where you came from and all the people that helped you along the way.”

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington’s 5th annual BlueFest takes place June 9th 2022. Click HERE for more information about BGCGW and the BlueFest event/fundraiser—and click HERE to view fundraising items up for auction.