Sen. Harris McDowell, who retired from office at the end of the last Delaware General Assembly, was named a Champion for Youth by the Boys & Girls Club of Delaware, which has given him its Helping Hand Award.
“We hoped we could do this ‘live’ during our past Youth of the Year ceremony but COVID-19 did not permit and still keeps us from getting together,” said Mike Hare, chairman of the organization’s board. “Nevertheless, today we wish to recognize a great champion for kids in Delaware and a very big help to our Boys & Girls Clubs.”
The Helping Hand Award recognizes the generous commitment to the guiding principles of the Boys & Girls Club movement and the recipient’s belief that a helping hand can make a positive difference in the lives of young people, our community and the Boys & Girls Club. It is selectively presented every one to three years.
McDowell led the state of Delaware’s Grant in Aid committee that has helped provide tutoring, drop out services, and delinquency prevention programs for thousands of young people at the Boys and Girls Clubs across the state and services to youth and families for dozens of other Delaware nonprofit organizations, the club said in a press release.
Thousands of Delaware students attend college through an effort he led and supported; establishing the Student Excellence Equals Degree also known as the SEED program, a program that has enabled many Boys & Girls Club youth to complete college.
“McDowell has not only assisted us in securing the support of the state for our Club youth, but he has also provided valuable counsel to us on a number of issues, said Martha Carper, former Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware chairwoman.
On numerous occasions, the press release said, McDowell both challenged the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware to do more for kids and provided valuable insight, support and counsel as the clubs grew to serve children in more than 44 different communities.
McDowell represented the First Senate District, which includes North Wilmington, Bellefonte, and Claymont, and is now represented by Sarah McBride.
First elected to the Delaware Senate in 1976, McDowell was the state’s longest-serving legislator ever, and also Delaware’s longest-serving elected official in any office with nearly 44 years as a state senator. He has served as the co-chair of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee, as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, the Environmental & Natural Resources Committee, and the Executive Committe.