Amarillo, TX - American Idol winner Ruben Studdard was in Amarillo Thursday evening to give back to an organization that helped him as a child.
He rose to fame after winning American Idol back to in 2003, but the first time he ever sang on stage was actually at a Boys and Girls Club talent show in Alabama.
"I might have been about 9 years old," said Studdard. "It was at camp at Jimmy Goodwin. My experience with the Boys and Girls Club has definitely been a part of the thing that helped me in my career. It's definitely where I got the opportunity to hone my skills as a performer because there was always something to do there and always something to perform in."
Thursday Studdard performed a benefit concert at the Amarillo Civic Center to raise money for the organization that helped him become a professional singer.
Shantera Smith, 15, said our local Maverick Boys and Girls Club is helping mold her future too. "Since becoming a member of Maverick, I have been able to get more scholarships. Without Maverick, I would not have known how to get scholarships or even how to apply for college."
Smith said the club also gave her the confidence to become involved in her community. "This year I'm a part of Teen Leaders of Amarillo and Canyon. Without Maverick, I would not have the experience to actually go out and do stuff like that. They help a lot. This summer we did a bunch of volunteer hours. I feel like they are preparing us for the future."
Maverick is now helping even more children like Smith than ever before. More than 1,000 kids attend the club's after school program and 125 are still on a waiting list.
The club is hoping to raise extra funding this year so it can continue to expand throughout Amarillo and Canyon.
If you missed Thursday's benefit concert but would still like to help the Maverick Club, you can donate by visiting their website here.