Last week, I introduced you to Aaron and DeMarco, the two young men who spoke at our Aspire Gala this past Friday. This week I want to share their stories with you. Both Aaron and DeMarco did a fantastic job speaking in front of 1,000 people—a feat that would make most adults nervous! In fact, when they were done, they walked off stage to a standing ovation.
Both kids shared a little bit about their experiences with the Badges for Baseball program. Aaron highlighted the fact that he never had the opportunity to meet a police officer, let alone play Quickball with one, before he joined the program. He also recapped his experiences over the years such as overnight camp, statewide Quickball tournaments, and even a College Experience Day at Wake Forest University last year. DeMarco spoke about how he participated in the program with a bunch of his friends and got to take his brand new baseball glove home with him.
After they were finished speaking, they presented awards to this year’s honorees: Robbie Callaway, Muhammad and Lonnie Ali, and Under Armour. The kids got pictures (below) with Robbie Callaway (lifelong youth advocate and CRSF board member), Lonnie Ali (Muhammad Ali’s wife and partner in philanthropy), and Kevin Plank (founder and CEO of Under Armour).
Vi Ripken, Bill Ripken, Aaron, Robbie Callaway (recipient of the Cal, Sr. Award), Cal Ripken, Jr., DeMarco, Rick Goings
The boys presented the Aspire Award to Lonnie Ali, who accepted for both her and her husband, Muhammad Ali
Aaron and DeMarco also presented an Aspire Award to Kevin Plank, who accepted on behalf of Under Armour
Kids are the reason we do this work, and Friday night, Aaron and DeMarco reminded us why. They have truly been a pleasure to work with over the years, and I hope to see them continue on their path to success.
(Photos by Sharon Redmond)