Author Wes Moore visits Memphis to speak with students, mentors and business leaders

Posted by Eric Bleier on September 26, 2012

Wes with a member of the Stax Music Academy

Wes with a member of the Stax Music Academy

Joe Murphy / NBAE / Getty Images

On September 20-21, the Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation, Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club and Smith & Nephew teamed up to bring New York Times Best-Selling Author, youth advocate, Army Combat veteran and business leader Wes Moore to Memphis.  Between the frequent nods and misty eyes, it’s certain Mr. Moore’s moving story of two young men growing up in the same Baltimore neighborhood resonated with all guests at the three events featuring him as guest speaker.

Mr. Moore’s first stop was a Student Forum hosted the Grizzlies Foundation and Facing History and Ourselves at Overton High School. Ninety students representing eight local high schools gathered to hear the author speak. Moore reminded students how important it was to prepare for college and their futures now, urging them to pursue colleges and opportunities that will place them among people who will support their learning and well-being. He reminded them that they should not be defined by their past. Later, students asked questions, inquiring about the Mr. Moore’s relationship with the “other” Wes Moore, now incarcerated in Maryland, while other students asked what advice he might share with aspiring writers.

Immediately following the Student Forum, Moore proceeded to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music for a reception with mentors, students and local community leaders and LPBC members. The standing room-only crowd enjoyed the soulful sounds of the Stax Music Academy a capella choir before Mr. Moore took the stage.  Among the guests were the 21 Smith & Nephew employees and their 21 mentees who participate in the Smith & Nephew 21st Century Scholars mentoring program, in addition to mentors representing Girls Inc., Youth Villages, Grizzlies TEAM Mentoring and the Memphis PREP Program. Moore spent nearly two hours signing books and engaging guests in conversation!

The following morning, the Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club welcomed Wes Moore as the keynote speaker for their Signature Breakfast at the Memphis Botanic Garden.  Over 300 guests gathered to consider how they can lead collaborations and coordination of efforts to ensure kids grow and learn among supportive individuals.

LPBC Director Jeremy Park shared this following Mr Moore’s presentation:

“Here were three of my favorite quotes because of the illustration they provide: 1) “When it’s time for you to leave here, make sure that it mattered you were even here;” 2) “We’re not products of our environments, we’re products of our expectations;” and 3) “Education matters not just because of what you’re learning…it matters because of who you’re learning from and who you’re learning with.’ 

“The world is indeed bigger than what is in front of us and the future of our great city and nation depends on us and all “the others.”  As Wes said, we are not just in Memphis, we are of Memphis!  So, we invite you to help us strengthen our city and to have a shared voice for the positive movements and opportunities where we can work together and make an impact.  We look forward to staying in touch and hope you will join us in our efforts to get more leaders actively engaged in our community by simply spreading the word and inviting others to participate.” 

Thank you to LPBC, Smith & Nephew and Reverend Audrey Gonzalez for your leadership and support in this collaborative effort that brought a leader, role model and exemplary individual to our community.


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The Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation is committed to serving Memphis youth through education and mentoring.