Wes Moore Returns: Youth Advocate to Address Champaign County's 9th Graders

United Way of Champaign County is hosting Wes Moore, author of “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates” who will speak with more than 500 ninth graders from schools and youth programs from all corners of Champaign county. The event will be held at the Parkland College Gymnasium on Thursday, October 18 from 4:00-5:30pm. Wes Moore will share his story, speaking about the importance of choices: how even seemingly small decisions can impact us for life. Students from 27 youth programs and 24 middle & high schools have been invited to the event.

“An Army officer, Rhodes Scholar, White House fellow, best-selling author, youth advocate, and business leader, Wes Moore is an American success story and a born leader—but he wasn't always on the path to achievement. Raised in a single-parent household in Baltimore, Moore was drawn toward trouble as a child, enough so that his mother eventually enrolled him in a Pennsylvania military school. This single, determined choice effectively changed the course of her son's life.

In his book, he tells the fascinating story of another Wes Moore—a man who shared his name and much of his personal history. About the same age and raised in the same neighborhood by a single mother, this "other Wes Moore" arrived at a starkly different fate: he now serves a life sentence without parole on murder charges. Compelled by their similar upbringings, Moore penned his book in an effort to discover how small choices make big differences in life.” (from Wes’ biography)

Wes Moore spoke at the United Way’s 2011 Pillar Event and many in the crowd expressed an interest in bringing him back to deliver his message to area youth. One of United Way of Champaign County’s community goals is Education – specifically, improving high school graduation rates. We know that 9th graders face an important transition period – one that can determine their future. By bringing Wes Moore and his inspirational message, we hope to touch the lives of students and create a ripple effect throughout the county.

Post-event, students are encouraged to share Wes’ message on Twitter using the hashtag #WesMooreCU, via a blog on United Way’s web site, www.uwayhelps.org/blog and in book clubs and reading circles in their schools and youth programs. Forty-five selected students will participate in a small-group discussion with Wes after the event.

Please feel free to contact Mary Noel or Carol Scharlau at United Way of Champaign County, 217-352-5151 or mary@uwayhelps.org, c-scharlau@uwayhelps.org. Media passes and an extensive biography of Wes Moore are available on request.

Download Wes Moore Biography

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Funding for this program is provided in part by the following sponsors:

Businesses & Organizations: United Way of Champaign County, AFL-CIO Champaign Co., AFSCME Local 3700, BankChampaign, NA, Busey Bank, Carle Foundation Hospital, Champaign Public Library, Fox Development, Grey & Associates, East Central Illinois Building & Trades, Kennedy Builders, LLC, Kiwanis Club of Champaign-Urbana, Suzi Davis Travel, and University of Illinois Office of Public Engagement.

Individuals: Barb Daly, Mary Kalantzis & Bill Cope, Kim & Denise Martin, Chuck & Faith Meece, Michelle & Tom Ramage, Ed & Carol Scharlau, Ellen & Peter Schmidt, Phyllis Wise & Dick Meisenger