Wade’s World Foundation 10th Anniversary

NBA champion Dwyane Wade is a star player on the court, and he’s no different when it comes to his charity. Celebrating 10 years of service to Chicago youth with Wade’s World Foundation, the philanthropist organized a weekend-long event to commemorate the momentous milestone.

Starting off with an awards gala, the Miami Heat sportsman honored leaders, such as Steve Harvey and his wife Marjorie, for their profound commitment to positively altering the life of many disadvantaged young people across the country.

“I’m glad that we could come out and do this,” Wade said. “We have to do our part to give back to the youth. We have to be role models to mold them into the direction that they should go in.”

Emceed by T. J. Holmes and Robin Robinson, the banquet included an unveiling of “Choose to Live, Live to Dream” campaign and the introduction of the 2013 Excellence in Philanthropy Award.

The next event was dedicated to the kids. From a circus to a concert headlined by local talent and singing sensation Mindless Behavior, Wade assured the children had a blast at the free “Live to Dream Festival” held in Douglas Park.

“The kids have a lot of energy. Hopefully, there’s a message taken away from this. It’s one of those fun events where we try to let the kids showcase their talent,” he said.

Standing by his side throughout the weekend were his sister and mother, who spearhead the foundation, and some Chicagoan celebrity friends, such as Andrea Kelly of VH1’s “Hollywood Exes” and Drew Sidora.

“I support everybody that’s doing something positive in the city. I choose to be here,” Sidora said, who hosted the concert with comedian Lil Rel. “It’s important for me to be an example for all of our youth. That is deeply my passion.”

Wade’s World Foundation garnered lots of help for the weekend festivities from sponsors, like Vienna Beef, Aramark Education and even Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who attended the circus.

“It’s been a good year. We’ve changed a few things up. I think we’ve done a good job. I think the city of Chicago has done a good job of supporting,” Wade said.

Wade always has Chicago in his heart, said Emanuel, and that’s what the star athlete hopes to continue to do.

“We want to make sure what we do comes from the heart,” he said. “That it’s heartfelt.”

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(Gala photos courtesy of Melody Thuston)

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