Child of America Award

Bobby Ricketts (We R 1 Voice Executive Council member, center), Mo Pleasure to his right

Bobby Ricketts (We R 1 Voice Executive Council member, center), Mo Pleasure to his right

Each year, Carver honors leaders in the fight for educational opportunity and a just society with its Child of America Award. Carver presented Morris “Mo” Pleasure with this, its highest award in June 2014.

Born and raised in Guilford, CT, a UCONN graduate, Mo began his career in music with Ray Charles and Earth Wing & Fire, and then he worked for and toured with dozens of the most successful singing artists in the world. Along the way, Mo always made time for the charities he cared about, especially Guilford A Better Chance, where at 12 years old he met his future wife to be, Lori, who is a member of the We R 1 Voice Executive Council.

Here is a video of Mo working with youth in Tanzania at The Dar Jazz Event, founded by fellow Executive Council member, Bobby Ricketts.

Mo approached the Carver Foundation of Norwalk with his ideas for We R 1 Voice, having learned of Carver’s innovations in the field of Youth Voice. Now with We R 1 Voice, Mo is organizing his peerless network of leaders in the music world to bring visibility and strength to the voice and heart of young people around the world. All honorees are exceptional role models for our youth who through their thought, word and deeds inspire us all.

Past Child of America honorees were Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Roger Wilkins, in 2002, the first year of the award; Helene Gayle, MD, President and CEO of CARE USA; James Comer, MD, the Maurice Folk Professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine; Geoffrey Canada, CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone; Cynthia Thompson, National Chair of The Girl Scouts of America; Cornell Leverette Moore, Esq., Grand Sire Archon-Elect, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity; the Reverend Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr., Senior Minister Emeritus of Riverside Church, NY, NY; Richard Fuller, the past Executive Director of the Carver Center (1978-2004); Debo P. Adegbile, director of litigation for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. For the 10th annual awards ceremony, we honored Elizabeth “Betty” Molina Morgan, Ph.D., Executive Director of  Grad Nation, an initiative of the America’s Promise Alliance. Founded in 1997, the America’s Promise Alliance, chaired by Mrs. Alma Powell, named the City of Norwalk among the “100 Best Communities for Young People” in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Its founding chairperson is General Colin Powell. Dr. Morgan was the former superintendent of Washington County Schools in Maryland and the 2010 American Association of School Administrators National Superintendent of the Year. In 2012, we honored Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Past Community Builder Award Honorees

The Carver Board of Directors created The Community Builder Award in 2005 to recognize at our annual gala exceptional corporate leadership. Award recipients are honored for fostering a strong nonprofit sector in Norwalk and in meeting the educational and human service needs of its employees, their families, and neighbors.

Award recipients, Pitney Bowes (2005), Affinion Group (2006), GE (2007), Stew Leonard’s and Norwalk Hospital (2008), Bank of America (2009), Deloitte LLC (2010), Pepperidge Farm (2011), David Campbell of Ring’s End (2012), and King Industries (2013) are exemplary institutional stakeholders in our community and make a significant difference in the lives of Carver youth and the greater Norwalk community and beyond.

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