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WLS 15th annual literary celebration

RENEE MINUS WHITE Fashion & Beauty Editor | 1/22/2013, 3:04 p.m.

To celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the Westchester Library System is holding its 15th annual African-American Literary Affair at a networking breakfast and presentation on Jan. 18, from 8 to 10 a.m. at Abigail Kirsh's Tappan Hill in Tarrytown. This year's honoree is Dr. Bettye Perkins, founder and chief executive officer of Today's Students, Tomorrow's Teachers. The featured guest speaker is Diane Brady, author of the book "Fraternity" and senior editor of Bloomberg Business Week.

Kevin Plunkett, Westchester deputy county executive, a College of Holy Cross alum, is honorary chair. This event will include a discussion with football great and Massachusetts Department of Transportation Diversity Chief Eddie Jenkins, who is profiled in "Fraternity."

"The story of 'Fraternity' and the work of our honoree, Dr. Perkins, echoes a core value of WLS to open doors of opportunity through access to information, resources and technology," said Terry L. Kirchner, executive director. "The resources throughout our library system serve to support all those seeking knowledge and inspiration, regardless of cultural or economic background."

Sponsored by Entergy, TD Bank and SirsiDynix, proceeds from this event will support WLS's Learning Ambassadors. It's a summer training and employment program for teens that includes early career and college exploration, volunteer community-service opportunities and the development of marketable job skills.

Brady covers corporate strategies, profiles and global business issues for Bloomberg's Business Week. Her book, "Fraternity," is an inspiring true story about a group of young men whose lives were changed by a visionary mentor, Father Brooks of Holy Cross College. He shared King's dream of an integrated society and he recruited young African-American men who he felt had potential to succeed if given the opportunity. Twenty young men would attend the college of Holy Cross in 1968. They were all mentored and supported by Brooks through their often-challenging four years of college, who pushed them to reach for goals that would sustain them as adults. One of the teens was Clarence Thomas. Brady will lead an interesting discussion about these gentlemen and what they have accomplished today.

This year's honoree, Perkins, is the founder and chief executive officer of Today's Students, Tomorrow's Teachers (TSTT), a special school-based mentoring program. TSTT recruits and trains culturally diverse and economically challenged students from high school through college and places them as teachers and leaders who inspired and strengthen their communities.

With her enormous passion to open doors for young people, Perkins originated TSTT in 1994 with seven students and established the program as a not-for-profit organization in 1998. Now, with the support of school districts, colleges, corporations, foundations and communities, TSTT supports over 600 students attending nearly 50 high schools in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Virginia. They also support colleges across the Northeastern U.S., including 23 college partners. Over 100 TSTT program graduates serve as teachers and role models in their communities.

For ticket information, call 914-231-3241 or visit www.westchesterlibraries.org.