Pooling knowledge from their experiences, they created 1Nation, a mentorship program to "serve African American youth ages 12-24 by cultivating their leadership potential, empowering positive behavior, and promoting healthy life decisions." The program provides both in- and out-of-school activities, as well as an 6-8 week "summer camp" which stresses workforce and college readiness and cultural education.
On Saturday, 1Nation celebrates its fourth year with a fundraising gala, the "Take a Walk In Our Shoes" Sneaker Ball at August Wilson Center. The dress code: black tie and sneakers.
In addition to food and cocktails, there will be music from the young jazz outfit Funky Fly Project (who are often already in black ties to begin with), a DJ and an auction. Brian Burley, of YNGBLKPGH, will handle emcee duties, and the Jeron Grayson Community MVP award winner will be announced.
"This is an escape for them, a chance for them to get away from just sitting at home all day or being out in the streets," says Morant. "Because we know what that leads to."
To get involved with 1Nation, get tickets for the Sneaker Ball or donate to the cause, visit 1NationMentoring.org or 1NationSneakerBall.Eventbrite.com.
Sneaker Ball 6 p.m. Sat., July 21. August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown.