With vodka cocktails named “The Work” and life-sized placards of his latest book circulating as a photo prop, the glamorous party that unfolded at Four Seasons Baltimore on Saturday evening appeared to be cast as a celebration of Wes Moore. Surrounded by family and friends from many stages of his life, as well as Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other dignitaries, the author and youth advocate was certainly the center of attention. But he opted to direct the spotlight toward others.
In The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters, Moore traces his own path of finding calling in serving others. So it was fitting that he used the platform afforded him by the already-successful book to call attention to those who serve others.
“This is a celebration of taking it personally. Of understanding that when we look at the lives of other people that we need to be able to look at them not just with a sense of sympathy, but a sense of empathy. Of this bigger idea that we are a collective group, and that our success only depends on the success of those around us,” Moore said.
After thanking friends, family and sponsors of the event like Prudential, Ciroc Vodka and Wheels Up, Moore used the remainder of his remarks to honor people doing exemplary work in their community.
From Baltimore, he honored Youth Dreamers‘ Kristina Berdan. The organization runs an after-school center that employs and serves youth of all ages. The idea for the center came from Berdan’s students, and Moore saluted her for listening to the needs of the students. Later, he honored Robert Clark, who founded Youth Build Newark, which helps low-income kids gain skills, education and wellness needed to get a job.
Moore also honored two individuals who work with veterans: CIROC Military Ambassador Christopher Minaya and Bonnie Carroll, founder of Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. Carroll demonstrated her commitment by sending a representative to accept the award, as she was elsewhere in the country helping veterans.
The ceremony also honored three students who went through BridgeEdu, the social enterprise that Moore founded to assist students with the often-difficult first year of college. In honoring Codi Chavis, Angelique Smith and Tyson Sanford-Griffin, he pointed out their 3.0 GPAs and dedication to education in the face of life circumstances that may keep some students from attending college.
“He’s a young man who knows that not all of life is going to be fair, but that’s no excuse not to succeed,” Moore said Sanford-Griffin.
As the dance floor opened up and some of the crowd began to wander toward the windows for a glimpse of the harbor view, there was a distinct feeling that higher success could be on the horizon for all involved.
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