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NFL player Gerald McCoy offers encouragement to Oklahoma City Whiz Kids volunteers

Several guest speakers, including author Wes Moore and Oklahoma City native Gerald McCoy, a former OU Sooner and current NFL player, offered encouraging words to tutors and others who help support the faith-based Whiz Kids program in the Oklahoma City metro area.
by Carla Hinton Published: March 31, 2012

Tutors from churches across the metro area received encouraging words during a recent charity event for the faith-based program called Whiz Kids.

The Whiz Kids' Seeds of Hope charity event Tuesday at the Cox Convention Center served as a volunteer appreciation gathering for the 1,400 men and women who serve as tutors for the program.

Whiz Kids, a ministry of faith-based City Care, connects 57 inner-city churches and suburban churches to offer free tutoring and mentoring to children in first through sixth grades at Oklahoma City area schools. The inner-city church provides a location for the one-on-one tutoring, and volunteers from both churches provide the lessons.

One of the guest speakers for the evening was Gerald McCoy, an Oklahoma City native, Southeast High School graduate, University of Oklahoma graduate and former OU All-American defensive tackle. McCoy, now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, told the tutors and other Whiz Kids supporters that such programs are needed “to give those kids a little push” in the right direction.

“I made it out because God allowed me to, but I also had so much help,” McCoy said.

“I didn't make it there (NFL) without the support and help from the ‘405,'” referring to the Oklahoma City area code.

Seeds of support

Author and youth advocate Wes Moore shared similar sentiments.

“Your support matters,” Moore told the crowd of about 1,200 people.

Moore held the audience captive with true-life tales of his upbringing and that of another man who shares the same name. Details of his account are chronicled in his book, “The Other Wes Moore.”

He said shortly after he was named a Rhodes Scholar, he was surprised to learn that another man named Wes Moore was being sought in connection with an armed robbery in which a police officer was killed. The “other Wes Moore” was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Tuesday, author Moore said he questioned why their lives turned out so different since they came from similar circumstances: Both are black; were raised by a single mother; lived roughly a few blocks from one another in Baltimore, and faced academic and delinquency troubles. Moore said he sent a letter to the other Wes Moore in prison, and they forged a years-long acquaintance that eventually led to the book.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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