The Jim Moran Foundation Award Presented to Childcare Pioneer Irma Hunter Wesley

Friday, October 22, 2004

Deerfield Beach, Fla. - South Florida childcare pioneer Irma Hunter Wesley received The Jim Moran Foundation Award for 2004 yesterday from Jim Moran, the organization's founder and honorary chairman of automotive company JM Family Enterprises and his wife Jan Moran, chairman and president of The Foundation. Wesley received the award for lifetime achievement and community service at a special ceremony held at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale. Guests who gathered for the ceremony included community leaders, friends, family, co-workers and proud parents of children in Wesley's care.

Award recipient Irma Hunter Wesley, center, is joined by Jan and Jim Moran who presented her with a $25,000 non-restricted grant for her namesake childcare center and a custom-made and engraved bronze sculpture.

Wesley was honored for her work 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 received a $25,000 non-restricted grant that she has designated to the Center as well as an engraved bronze sculpture of a child.

"I respect you so much for what you've done and I congratulate you," said Jim Moran. "She's dedicated herself for over 31 years to children. What she's done for the kids in this community is something that very few people have ever done. We are so pleased and so proud to be able to do this for her."

"Thank you for choosing me to receive this prestigious award," said Wesley. "This sculpture will always remind me of my mission. I did it out of my heart and never thought I'd receive an award. The $25,000 will help the Center to buy books that will enhance the reading and literacy program at our school. We'll also buy some playground equipment and other materials that will enhance the children's development."

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 bachelors 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. It is located at 100 Jim Moran Boulevard, Deerfield Beach, Fla. 33442. To learn more about The Foundation visit www.jimmoranfoundation.org  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.