ROCKVILLE — For Lincoln Park resident and former Rockville HS basketball player Donald “Duck” Davis, one of the best ways to give back to his community is to focus on the youth.
Davis is best known for his contributions to the Lincoln Park Community Center and especially for the Lincoln Park Athletic Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame is on display at the Community Center and celebrates athletes and other local professionals who grew up in Lincoln Park and achieved success at the college or professional level.
“When you first mention Lincoln Park, the first thing that comes to people’s minds is something negative,” said Davis. “If you grew up there, you know it really wasn’t like that.”
While the Hall of Fame wall originally focused on local athletes, Davis also decided to include teachers, lawyers, police officers, doctors, and even an actress, Lisa Summerour, who grew up in Lincoln Park.
“We recognize people who have gone on and achieved some greatness, and outside of Lincoln Park, a lot of people don’t know that,” said Davis. “That’s why we recognize people who have done well.”
According to Davis, the Hall of Fame wall serves as an inspiration for the children that come into the Community Center. He says that the wall serves as a role model for many local students, some of whom declare their desire to be featured one day among the decorated Lincoln Park athletes.
However, Davis’s commitment to Lincoln Park’s youth doesn’t end at the Community Center. For over 20 years, Davis has taken large groups of children to the Redskins training camp. He also heads the Lincoln Park Youth Club, which includes activities such as fishing and hiking.
“When I give back, I’m always focused on the kids in the neighborhood,” he said.
Davis uses his basketball expertise to partner with other communities to form a group of basketball players called Kids of Tomorrow, featuring one team from each community.
“The kids made new friends, they got to know each other, and a lot of those kids turned out to be successful,” said Davis. In fact, former NFL player Marcus Mason was once a member of the Kids of Tomorrow.
For the past 25 years, Davis has also spearheaded a free basketball clinic during the holiday season, geared toward students age five to 16.
In addition to sharpening their basketball skills, attendees are treated to a guest speaker with local roots. This year, Davis is planning on bringing back his group of counselors from the very first clinic to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Former NBA player and Paint Branch High School graduate Tracy Jackson will serve as the guest speaker.
“That is one of my biggest accomplishments,” said Davis of the basketball clinic. “It let people know that this is what Lincoln Park had to offer. So many great things were happening in this neighborhood.”
The basketball clinic garnered so much attention and popularity that Davis had to move the location to the Twinbrook Community Center. The clinic attracted children from areas beyond Lincoln Park, such as Silver Spring and D.C. Between 50 and 75 students attend each year.
“I feel that God gave me a gift to work with youth and I have made the best of it,” said Davis. “I understand that it’s not about me, that it’s about the kids and because I understand that, it makes the work a lot easier. It takes a lot of people to help make these kids successful. Not one person can do it.”
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