Everything you need to know about CARES
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In his moving remarks on Gala night, Courtney Vance shared that he has personally been affected by the issue;  both his father and godson died by suicide, which he discusses in his new book, The Invisible Ache: Black Men Identifying Their Pain and Reclaiming Their Power. Vance offered that his “love and respect for Susan Taylor runs long and deep because she has always been at the forefront of finding ways to improve, enhance, and nurture lives in the Black community.” He added, “Susan’s focus on our children through the incredible work of the National CARES Mentoring Movement is perhaps her most important endeavor. This is because the work CARES does with our youth  is a direct reflection of what the future can look like.”

The Gala also featured a powerful video, written and produced by asha bandele and directed by Preston Miller, about Khalid McCombs, a young man who was transformed by the Rising Program, CARES’ curriculum-based, national, signature initiative devoted to helping our children override the breadth of disparities derailing many young lives. Award-winning talk-show host and author Tamron Hall narrated the video. But what the audience did not know was that Khalid, who is now an engineer but who’d considered suicide during high school after the deaths of his mother and grandmother, was in the audience.

When Taylor introduced him, the crowd leaped from their seats to give Khalid a long and thunderous standing ovation, which continued as he moved from his seat to  join Taylor and Vance on stage. Afterwards, Sherri Shepherd introduced the three dynamic North Star Award Honorees, Dr. Trisha Bailey,  Susan Taylor Batten and Grace Vandecruze, highlighting all of the incredible work these women are doing to uplift Black children, moving millions of dollars into poorly-served communities where our young ones live. Guests also participated in a call for donations and raised over $300,000 within 20 minutes. The evening ended with a brilliant performance by the soulful Kenny Lattimore, followed by the beats  of DJ Daychia Sledge.

National CARES gratefully acknowledges the generous support of their sponsors including Premier Sponsors, the Hope & Robert F. Smith Family and the Oprah Winfrey Charitable FoundationPresenting Sponsors, Bailey’s Medical Equipment & Supplies, Casey Family Programs, FedEx, Grace Global Capital and The Coca-Cola Company; and Gold Circle Sponsors AARP, and Lawana Kimbro and the Stardust Fund;  Silver Sponsors, American Urban Radio Networks; Bank of America; Comcast NBC Universal; Marva Smalls/Paramount; and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Finally, CARES’ work would not have the breadth and depth it does without its Community Action Partners: the Association of Black Psychologists; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Jack and Jill of America, Inc.; The Links, Inc.; the National Black Child Development Institute; the National Coalition of 100 Black Women; and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. With their steady engagement and support, CARES is helping to build the world that all of our children deserve.


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