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Wes Moore spoke with students from Baltimore’s KIPP Ujima Village Academy. (Photo credit: James Bentley)

On Nov. 16 more than 200 students from six schools across the state of Maryland gathered at The Southwest Anchor Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library for the 3rd Annual “Actions to Impact” service event hosted by best-selling author and combat veteran Wes Moore.

This year’s “Call to Service” event featured a discussion of Moore’s new fictional novel This Way Home, a Q & A session with the students and a giving component. Prior to the event, each class participated in a food drive to donate non-perishable items to the Maryland Food Bank to assist with their Thanksgiving efforts. The students collected over 50 pounds of food items.

The participating schools in this third annual event were Forest Park High School, William Pinderhughes Middle School, National Friends Academy, KIPP, Anacostia Senior High, Baltimore Montessori and Dwight D Eisenhower Middle. Each participating class also received signed copies of Moore’s new book.

When asked why it is important for him to come speak to Baltimore students Moore said “This is my home. Baltimore holds an incredibly special place in my heart and always will. When I think about the future of our city, the future of our city is going to school every day in our city schools. So anyone that cares deeply about the future of Baltimore has to care deeply about our students and the kind of futures they can create. I will always, when I have a moment, just say ‘thank you’ to them, to their teachers, to their administrators and let them know that their work does matter. It matters to all of us.”