Aug. 6, 2004 – Singer, songwriter and actress Dawnn Lewis was celebrating her birthday Friday on St. Thomas, where she's spending the weekend taking part in her fourth Beacon Schools of the V.I. Celebrity Golf Tournament.
"It's just a blessing," the Grammy Award winner said of the opportunity to participate in this year's 8th annual fund-raiser, taking place at the Mahogany Run Golf Course on Saturday and Sunday.
Lewis added that she hopes that she can in some way influence the young people served by the Beacon Schools program just as she was influenced when she was younger.
"It's all about helping the kids," National Football League celebrity D'Andre White also said of his participation in this year's golfing event to benefit the after-school programs offered at three elementary schools on St. Thomas, three on St. Croix and one on St. John.
"Of course it's for the kids!" actress Kiki Shepard said. But then she added, "And who wouldn't love to come to St. Thomas to help anybody?"
Tim Fox, former NFL defensive back, is participating in his second Beacon golf outing in the territory. He said he had to come back because he was so impressed with the local people and their support of the program.
Beacon Schools of the V.I. is a community-based after-school program offering students sports, arts, cultural and other recreational activities, along with academic and vocational training and health education. "Each program works with the basic needs of the students and their particular community," Barry Florence, tournament manager, said at a press conference Friday at Marriott Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort.
Last year's golf tournament raised $92,000 for the Beacon program. This year, the organization will meet its goal of $100,000, Florence said. "This will be the first year that we've actually met our goal," he added.
The tournament teams up local players and the participating celebrities on the golf course. There will be a celebrity challenge round on Saturday morning and a celebrity scramble on Sunday.
All of this year's 30 sports and entertainment participants had arrived in the territory as of Friday and were introduced at the press conference.
Among them are basketball greats Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Sam Jones, Gus Williams, Maurice Lucas, Austin Carr, Johnny Newman and Kevin Grevey; 1980 NBA Coach of the Year Jack McKinney; former 76ers assistant coach Fred Carter and veteran NBA referee Bob Delaney.
This year's football celebrities are Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers and other NFL players Fox, White, Mike Pruitt, Mark Mosely, Andy Johnson, Chris Doleman and John Davis.
From Major League Baseball are George Foster, formerly of the San Francisco Giants, and Cliff Johnson, formerly of the Houston Astros.
And from show business are Lewis, Shepard, rapper MC Lyte, fashion model Suzi McCoppin and actors Earl Billings, Tucker Smallwood, Basil Wallace, Beverly Johnson, Jacqueline Fleming and Jackee Harry.
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