Mark Wahlberg has become one of the go-to guys in Hollywood because of his consistently good acting both in comedic and dramatic roles, as well as his ability to be an action star. He’s the youngest of 9 children and was born and raised in a suburb of Boston.
He spent – or more accurately misspent – a good chunk of his youth being in trouble with the law and fighting a drug addiction, after dropping out of high school. After finally going to jail, he realized that he – in his own words – “was taught the difference between right and wrong at an early age” and decided to take responsibility for his past behavior and change his life.
He found his way to music and was one of the original members of his brother’s boy band, New Kids on the Block, but dropped out fairly quickly. He then moved on to begin his own recording career under the name Marky Mark and had one hit called Good Vibrations. After appearing in the video for the song, he was hired by Calvin Klein to model in a series of underwear print ads shot by famed photographer Herb Ritts.
In the early 1990s, Wahlberg began his acting career in a television movie and earned his first real success in the movie Boogie Nights and then earned an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of a detective in the Best Picture Oscar winner The Departed.
And in 2001, Wahlberg and his brother James started the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation for the purpose of raising and distributing funds to youth service and enrichment programs for inner city youth. Wahlberg said he was inspired to create the foundation because of all the time that he and his siblings spent at the Boys and Girls Clubs of America when they were growing up and benefiting from that positive experience.
According to the Foundation’s website, 3 out of every 10 students in our public schools systems don’t graduate from high school with a diploma. The goal of the foundation is to change that statistic through youth summer camp programs (designed to help children from Boston’s inner city communities), after school programs (through giving grants to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, as well as other after school programs), and partnering with the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens to distribute over $4 million to nearly 350 organizations that work to keep teens in school.
Earlier this year, the Foundation donated $10,000 to the Malden Teen Enrichment Center, a Massachusetts-based organization that promotes healthy development for teens by providing them with a safe environment. Wahlberg’s security coordinator (a Malden resident) had organized a street hockey tournament as a fundraiser for the Malden center and – after it raised only about $7,000 – the Walhberg Foundation pledged an additional $10,000.
And remember above when I told you that Mark Wahlberg had dropped out of high school before getting his diploma. Since he’s so passionate about helping teens graduate with a diploma and since he wanted to set up a good example for his 4 young children, he went back and finished his education and received his high school diploma in June of this year. Good job, Mr. Wahlberg.