Wes Moore Featured At Child Advocacy Event

From the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition www.bcacct.org.

BCAC 26th Annual Breakfast to Feature Wes Moore, Author of The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Optimus Health Care and Southwest Community Health Center to receive community service awards

Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition’s (BCAC) 26th Annual Breakfast & Award Ceremony welcomes Wes Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, to share his remarkable life story and that of another man with the same name and from the same neighborhood, who was arrested and convicted of murdering an off-duty police officer. Kevin Lembo, Comptroller for the State of Connecticut, will be honored with the Jan Park Child Advocacy Award and Optimus Health Care and Southwest Community Health Center will be honored with the Cesar Batalla Community Service Award. The program is scheduled for Wednesday, April 27, 2011 from 7:30 – 9:30 AM at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn, 1070 Main Street, Bridgeport, and is open to the public.

In 2000, The Baltimore Sun ran an article about how Moore, despite his troubled childhood, had just received The Rhodes Scholarship. At the same time, the newspaper was running stories about four men who were arrested for the murder of an off-duty Baltimore police officer during an armed robbery. One of the men convicted was just two years older than Moore, lived in the same neighborhood, and was also named Wes Moore. He wondered how two young men from the same city, who were around the same age, and even shared a name, could arrive at two completely different destinies. The juxtaposition between their lives, and the questions it raised about accountability, chance, fate, and family had a profound impact on Moore.

Seeking to help other young people redirect their lives, Moore is committed to being a positive influence in helping youth find the support they need to enact change. Pointing out that a high school student drops out every nine seconds, he says that public servants–the teachers, mentors and volunteers who work with our youth–are as imperative to our national standing and survival as our armed forces. “Public service does not have to be an occupation, but it must be a way of life,” Moore says.

“Wes’s message of accountability and the vital role that education, family, and community play in shaping young lives is powerful, shocking, and incredibly inspirational,” explains Mary Pat Healy, executive director, BCAC. “It’s a wakeup call to society and he puts it best when he says, ‘The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his.'”

The Jan Park Child Advocacy Award recognizes an individual who understands the important role of advocacy and community mobilization for advocacy; who is a passionate advocate for policy and systems changes that will improve the lives of children and their families; who has a broad perspective and vision for change; and who volunteers or goes above and beyond their normal job in their advocacy.

Prior to being elected State Comptroller in 2010, Kevin Lembo served two terms as Connecticut’s first Healthcare Advocate. In this role, he helped thousands of Connecticut residents navigate the complexities of the healthcare system each year. He advocated for patients and their families when they were denied coverage or treatment, and returned more than $25 million to consumers over six years. He also co-chaired the state’s SustiNet Board of Directors, which was responsible for developing recommendations to implement SustiNet, Connecticut’s health reform law.

The Cesar Batalla Community Service Award celebrates organizations that have a long-term concern for and involvement in enhancing the quality of life for children and their families in Bridgeport; that have achieved significant results at the neighborhood, city, regional, or local level; that goes above and beyond their job description; and that is involved at the grassroots level and does not normally get recognized.

Optimus Health Care and Southwest Community Health Center have been providing comprehensive medical, dental and behavioral health services to Bridgeport’s medically-underserved neighborhoods for 35 years. The community centers have responded quickly to urgent community needs, assuming management of the city’s school-based health centers and WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children), even in the face of significant budget cuts. As a result of their efforts, thousands of Bridgeport residents have been able to receive needed health care.

“BCAC is pleased to recognize Kevin Lembo, Optimus Health Care, and Southwest Community Health Center for their important work to improve access to affordable, quality health care for children and families in the greater Bridgeport region and throughout Connecticut,” explained Healy.

The BCAC Annual Breakfast & Award Ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, April 27, 2011 from 7:30 – 9:30 AM at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn, 1070 Main Street, Bridgeport, and is open to the public. Tickets are $100 per person and may be reserved online at www.bcacct.org. Moore will do a book signing for event attendees immediately following the program. Copies of The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates may be purchased at Rainy Faye Bookstore in downtown Bridgeport with 10% of the proceeds benefiting BCAC.


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