Brooklyn, New York – Christmas in Brooklyn came a week early for some kids — and a Grammy winner was more than happy to play Santa Claus.
But R&B singer Ne-Yo didn’t need a red suit or a white beard.
His third stop on his foundation’s annual “Giving Tour” surprised hundreds of kids at the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club with toys, clothes, shoes and autographs.
“I feel like I’ve been blessed above and beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of,” said Ne-Yo, whose real name is Shaffer Smith. “So Compound Foundation is one of the ways I choose to give it back — as cliche as it may sound, the children are our future.”
Ne-Yo, who was raised by a single mother in Las Vegas, NV, established the Compound Foundation in 2007 along with his business partner Reynell Hay. In addition to its annual ‘Giving Tour,’ the organization has developed several programs designed to empower and educate youth — especially foster children.
“The thing that I have to keep stressing is that it’s not these kids’ fault that there in the situations that they’re in,” said Ne-Yo, whose mother signed him up with the local Boys and Girls Club when he was younger. “I feel like me coming back…I show [the kids] that they can get past circumstance.”
NBC News associate Rima Abdelkader contributed to this report