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Baltimore mogul to host student event

Stacy M. Brown | 8/16/2013, 6 a.m.
For entrepreneur and entertainment mogul Kevin Liles, it’s all about the children.
(Left) Kevin Liles (left) with Def Jam Records founder, Russell Simmons. Courtesy photo

For entrepreneur and entertainment mogul Kevin Liles, it’s all about the children.

The Charm City native and Morgan State alum is hosting a back to school festival on Saturday, August 24, 2013 from noon to 4 p.m. at Security Square Mall in Baltimore.

“I’ve seen it all. I grew up on Preston Street where there was the drug corner, the liquor store and the church,” Liles said. “Somebody reached out and gave me an opportunity and it’s been a better way of life for me and I’d like to help give some other young person that opportunity.”

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(Right) Kevin Liles received a plaque from Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz at the “Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore Foundation” back to school event last year. The back to school festival this year will be held on Saturday, August 24, 2013 at Security Square Mall from noon to 4 p.m.

A former Def Jam records president and Warner Music executive, Liles has lived up to the meaning of, “giving back,” particularly in his beloved Baltimore.

Last month, Liles’ “Make it Happen Foundation,” returned to the city to hold its annual Summer Business Academy, which hosted 12 students and is aimed at teaching the principles of business to disadvantaged minorities who are college bound.

The foundation provides opportunities and access for young people to become products of their experiences and not merely products of their environment, Liles said. Through internship partners and mentor programs, the foundation provides life-changing opportunities for under served youth.

“Baltimore played such a huge role in my foundation,” Liles said. “My teachers and former principal at Woodlawn High School and the professors at Morgan State played big roles in my life. So, giving back is in my blood.”

In addition to the “Make it Happen Foundation,” Liles also heads, “Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore Foundation, Inc.,” the host of this year’s back to school fest.

The foundation will provide more than 5,000 backpacks filled with school supplies, educational games and other items necessary to students for the new school year.

“We will also provide free hair cuts [and] on-site immunizations. There will be opportunities for older students to explore colleges and make career choices,” Liles said.

Live entertainment will be provided during the four-hour event.

Liles says that the goal of each foundation is to foster an environment for young people to realize their potential.

“It is our responsibility to provide a platform for the next generation of leaders,” Liles said. “I want to make sure that those who come to the festival, not only get educated, but get real life experience.”

The Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore Foundation provides young people with exposure to social, educational, economic, cultural, and civic opportunities that they may not otherwise experience.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Baltimore County Schools Superintendent S. Dallas Dance are helping to co-sponsor the festival, which invites the participation of children from all over the county.

“We also support Michelle Obama’s fight against childhood obesity and this festival is geared towards helping children get fit, eat healthy and make better life choices,” Liles said. To that end, the Maryland Food Bank will donate 30,000 pounds of fresh produce to low-to-moderate income families.

The Baltimore County Department of Health will provide recommended vaccines at no cost for children up to age 18 who are eligible under the “Vaccines for Children” program from a mobile unit that will be located near the main entrance to the mall.

The program includes, among others, children who are eligible for Medicaid and children who have no health insurance. Parents must bring a copy of their child's immunization record. Meningitis vaccine will also be available at no cost for students entering college.

“We want our students to be just as prepared for school as anyone else,” Liles said. “I believe that it's important to make sure that these families are aware of the many free resources in their community that are at their fingertips.”

If you would like to make a donation to the Kevin Liles for A Better Baltimore Foundation, send it to P.O. Box 117, Randallstown, MD 21133.