AME Zion's Rev. Glenn Grayson, to receive award from President Obama
For his tireless efforts to curb violence and to improve the lives of Pittsburgh youth through his Children/Adult Recreational and Educational Services, the Center that C.A.R.E.S., Rev. Glenn Grayson, pastor at Wesley Center AMEZ on Centre Avenue, in the Hill District, has been named by President Obama as one of this year’s Champions of Change and will be honored at the White House April 3, 2014.

Since its inception, C.A.R.E.S. has provided educational services and cultural activities to children, youth and young adults year-round. Starting with just six students in 2000, it serves more than 250 students year-round, as of 2012. The center’s new home, the former Ozanam Cultural Center, has been renamed in memory of Rev. Grayson’s son, Jeron, who was killed by random gun violence while attending a party at California University of Pennsylvania in 2010.

“Can you imagine it? God is up to something,” Rev. Grayson said. “I was one of nine people selected out of 400 nominees. It’s just surreal. I’m ecstatic, it’s a great honored. This is a whole different world,”

“My son's memory drives me,” said Grayson a few hours before receiving — along with Buhl Foundation President Frederick W. Thieman and Tim Stevens, founder of the Black Political Empowerment Project — the Good Government Award from the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh.

“When my son came home from school the day he died, he said to me, ‘Dad, I know what I want to do. I want to take the C.A.R.E.S. Center and make it global.' I didn't really understand the statement when he made it, but now I think it was so profound,” Grayson said.

The Jeron Xavier Grayson Community Center, which will offer programs to help young people avoid gangs and gun violence, is scheduled open this summer on Enoch Street in the Crawford-Roberts area of the Hill District.

“In spite of my loss, the pieces are coming together to save other people,” Grayson said.

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