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He’s an actor, singer, film producer and restaurateur. But Donnie Wahlberg recently wore the hat of mentor at an inner-city school in the town he now calls home. Like many South Shore International College Prep High School students, the odds were stacked against him, says Wahlberg, 46, formerly of the boy band New Kids on the Block. Wahlberg plays Danny Reagan in the CBS cop series, “Blue Bloods.” He was the eighth of nine children raised in poverty in Boston’s gritty Dorchester neighborhood (younger brother is actor Mark Wahlberg). His mother was a nurse’s aide and clerk; his father a delivery driver; his family was dependent on food stamps; navigated alcoholism and divorce, and most of his siblings dropped out of high school. He overcame because he always wanted something more and went after it hard, Wahlberg told the teens. The actor who currently headlines four TV shows — the others being A&E’s “Donnie Loves Jenny” and “Wahlburgers” and Pop TV’s “Rock This Boat: New Kids on the Block” — moved here after marrying actress and Chicago native Jenny McCarthy last year. He talked to reporter Maudlyne Ihejirika. A condensed transcript follows.

“It’s very funny. I’ve been on many stages, but walking into the halls of a school is something that moves me a lot. School was a critical part of my life. As a teen, I was bused to a predominantly black school in the time of great racial tension in Boston. Black kids were being sent to white neighborhoods and vice versa, and the parents were rioting. Everybody was angry, but the students, we just wanted to go to school.

“Those early days shaped me. While the parents were fighting outside and protesting, I was inside meeting children of all diverse ethnicities, learning what old school meant, about music, culture, and differences, and people. If it wasn’t for that, I can’t even imagine where I’d be today. Had I not been on those school buses, I would have had a much more narrow view of the world. So I feel very blessed for that.

“It felt like coming full circle when I walked through these doors. Even though I’m from Boston, I grew up in a very similar place to the South Side. Every single kid in my school was poor. We didn’t have much. The kids who were lucky weren’t on food stamps. But a lot of us had dreams.

“I got my music break from Maurice Starr, who discovered New Edition. New Edition actually lived all around the neighborhood where I went to high school. My first girlfriend dated Bobby Brown before me. Now that’s really old school. In high school, when they opened a theater class, I just felt like it’s where I belonged. I jumped into theater freshman year, and outside school, I formed New Kids On The Block.

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Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg attend the 2015 American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles, California, November 22, 2015.

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Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg appear on the set of ‘Dirty, Sexy, Funny with Jenny McCarthy’ at SiriusXM Studios on October 27, 2015 in New York City.  (Photos by Rob Kim)

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Chicagoan Jenny McCarthy took in her first Cubs game Tuesday from a Waveland Avenue rooftop with her husband, Donnie Wahlberg.

Being from the South Side, her White Sox allegiance didn’t stop her from rooting for the other Chicago team.

“I’m one of those White Sox fans that when the Cubs get to this place, I would be a real jerk not to support them,” McCarthy said after hosting her SiriusXM show, “Dirty, Sexy, Funny with Jenny McCarthy,” from the Beyond The Ivy rooftop.

She said she played a charity Wiffle ball game at Wrigley Field before but never watched a live Cubs game there until Tuesday.

“Growing up, we really didn’t have the funds to go to games. So the only way we got to go to the White Sox game was if I had perfect attendance in school, they gave us free tickets,” she said. “Hopefully, I’ll bring good luck.”

Since Cubs manager Joe Maddon is known for bringing a petting zoo to Wrigley and having a pajama party for the players, RedEye asked McCarthy what team building activity she would suggest.

“Probably putting a Wahlburgers inside the stadium. That would probably do it. Once you have a Wahlburger, you become instant, instant winners,” she said.

So, when is a Wahlburger coming to Chicago?

“We’re working on it now. Jenny and I are starting to build the team for the Chicago area,” Wahlberg said.

They’re looking at St. Charles, where the couple currently live, and talking about bringing one to O’Hare Airport, McCarthy said.

What their series prediction?

Cubs in seven, the “Blue Bloods” actor said.

“They’re going to have to overcome some serious obstacles to break the curse like my Red Sox did,” Wahlberg said. “But they’ve got Theo Epstein with them. He’s a curse breaker and Cubs are going to break the curse.” [redeyechicago.com]

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Home – Donnie | Public Apperances – SiriusXM Show live from Beyond The Ivy

Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy attend Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC at BGC Partners, INC on September 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photos by John Parra)

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By ERIC SCHELKOPF – eschelkopf@shawmedia.com

GENEVA – Hotel Baker owner Rowena Salas said she was honored that celebrity Jenny McCarthy and singer/actor Donnie Wahlberg picked the St. Charles hotel as the setting for their wedding last year.

On Friday night, she was one of 150 guests at A Night of Hope, a benefit held at Oscar Swan Country Inn in Geneva to raise money for Generation Rescue, an organization designed to provide hope, information and immediate treatment assistance to families affected by autism spectrum disorders. Her son, Evan, was diagnosed with autism in 2005.

McCarthy is president of the organization, and Salas become a member of the board of directors earlier this year. McCarthy hosted Friday’s event, which was sold-out.

“I have a nephew who was diagnosed with autism,” said Salas, who owns the Hotel Baker in St. Charles with her husband, Joe. “It’s very close to my heart because of sister’s journey. He’s now 19 and doing well.”

They co-chaired Friday’s event with Karen and Ed French. The event also featured a live auction featuring such items as a New Kids On The Block signed guitar and a visit on the set of CBS’ series “Blue Bloods” in New York City. Wahlberg is a member of New Kids On The Block and stars in “Blue Bloods.”

McCarthy and her husband recently bought a house in St. Charles, according to the show “Donnie Loves Jenny.”

Generation Rescue provides medical treatment grants to families in need, Generation Rescue Executive Director Candace McDonald said.

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Screen caps from a very emotional and nostalgic episode of Donnie Loves Jenny.  Episode Synopsis:  The family travel the country, allowing Donnie and Jenny to focus on blending their families; Jenny and Elijah join Donnie for a concert at Madison Square Garden; Elijah and Evan bond at a Chicago fair; and Donnie visits his old school.  Air date: August 26, 2015.

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Home > Donnie Loves Jenny > Blending Families (Season 2, Episode 6)

Donnie Wahlberg and Colin Jost pose with host Jenny McCarthy on the set of ‘Dirty, Sexy, Funny with Jenny McCarthy’ at SiriusXM Studios on July 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photos by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

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Home > Donnie | Public Appearances > SiriusXM Studios [7.22.2015]