|Fundraising Event for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme.|
She may be the mother of one of the greatest athletes of all time, but Lucille O’Neal is much more than Shaquille O’Neal’s mom.
“She’s endured poverty, rejection, abuse, addiction and the illness of a child – yet today her faith and passion for others is stronger than ever,” Andrew Firestone said Thursday as he introduced Lucille O’Neal, the keynote speaker at the 15th Annual Great Futures for Kids Breakfast presented by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme.
Thursday’s event was part of the club’s 2017 campaign goal to raise $100,000 for programs that serve 10,400 children and their families in Oxnard.
... Growing up in the 1960s in New Jersey, she remembers racial tension in her neighborhood. But not at the Boys Clubs of Newark, where all the children were taught to respect and get along with one another.
... After spending decades raising her two sons and two daughters, she went back to school at the Adult Education Program at Bethune-Cookman University, where she graduated cum laude in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. Two years later, she completed her master's in organizational management at the University of Phoenix.
“My oldest son that got that good job…he paid for my education because it was a dream I had,” O’Neal said. “He said, ‘I’ll send you – but as long as you keep your grades up.’”
Today, the mother and son continue to support the Boys & Girls Club as their way of giving back. Just like his mom, Shaquille O’Neal credits the club in Newark for making a positive difference in his life when he was growing up.