Irma Hunter Wesley to Receive The Jim Moran Foundation Award - Jim Moran Honors Child Advocate for Community Service

Thursday, October 14, 2004
Deerfield Beach, Fla. - South Florida childcare pioneer Irma Hunter Wesley has been selected as the recipient of The Jim Moran Foundation Award for 2004 for lifetime achievement and community service. The announcement was made today by Jan Moran, chairman and president of The Jim Moran Foundation (The Foundation). The award ceremony will be held on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 2:30 p.m. at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, second floor main library, located at 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.

Wesley has served as executive director of the Irma Hunter Wesley Ft. Lauderdale Child Development Center (the Center) for more than 30 years. In recognition of her many accomplishments on behalf of children and families, Wesley will receive a $25,000 non-restricted grant that she has designated to the Center as well as an engraved bronze sculpture of a child from namesake automotive industry legend and philanthropist Jim Moran, founder of The Foundation and honorary chairman of diversified automotive company JM Family Enterprises, Inc.

"Irma cares for these children as if they were her own," said Jim Moran, "Jan and I have long admired her philosophy of reaching children at an early age to give them positive self esteem and provide a concrete, solid foundation for learning that will last them a lifetime."

"I am very grateful and honored to have been chosen to receive this prestigious award," said Wesley. "I thank God for Jim and Jan Moran and The Jim Moran Foundation Board of Directors. My school motto is 'Giving children the opportunity to grow, love and learn.' Based on our motto I will continue to provide ladders of opportunities toward building firm foundations for academic development, personal development and citizenship during the most important years of their lives."

According to Wesley, she looks forward to using a portion of the grant to continue serving the Center's annual Thanksgiving dinner to the children and their families. "The sculpture is a continued reminder of my mission in life," she added. "I truly believe that if I can help somebody as I pass along this way then my living has not been in vain."

Wesley, 64, has been executive director of the Center since she founded it in 1973. Under her leadership, the facility is dedicated to developing children through tender loving care. It has been praised for its innovative programs that help children at a very early age to develop skills that provide a base for reading and writing in later years and that provide therapeutic intervention for abused, neglected and drug-exposed children.

In 2000, Wesley received JM Family's prestigious African-American Achiever Award in the Health and Family Services category. Previously, the City of Fort Lauderdale proclaimed April 1st to be Irma Hunter Wesley Day. She has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Nova University and a certificate in Early Childhood Development from Florida Atlantic University. A resident of South Florida for more than 40 years, Wesley currently lives in Fort Lauderdale and is married to Sylvester G. Wesley. They have five children and six grandchildren.

The Jim Moran Foundation Award

The Jim Moran Foundation Award honors individuals who have an established history of giving back to their community through active service and personal commitment. The honoree must exemplify the characteristics of the mission of The Foundation, reflect proven accomplishments that address real community needs and/or concerns and exhibit a spirit that inspires and encourages others to embrace civic and charitable responsibility in meeting the needs of their community. The award selection committee is comprised of the Governance Committee of The Jim Moran Foundation.

The Jim Moran Foundation

The mission of The Jim Moran Foundation is to improve the quality of life for the youth and families of Florida through the support of innovative programs and opportunities that meet the ever-changing needs of the community. To learn more about The Foundation visit or call (954) 429-2122.

Irma Hunter Wesley Ft. Lauderdale Child Development Center

The Irma Hunter Wesley Ft. Lauderdale Child Development Center staffs only qualified, loving childcare professionals who take a sincere interest in children and their individual requirements. The staff has one goal in mind - the determination to teach each child in their care love, respect, kindness, obedience and the joy of learning. The Center employs certified teachers and assistants who receive thorough background checks and are professionally interviewed and informed of the quality of care expected at the Center. It offers both full- and part-time care for children ages six weeks and older and programs such as play time, story time and nap time, balanced nutritious meals and education designed for each age group. The Center is located at 1409 Northwest 6th Street, Suite 5, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33311. For more information call (954) 522-6552.