Young entrepreneurs, leaders, and authors were recognized for their work by teen entrepreneur and Amazon bestselling-author Gabrielle Jordan with ExCEL Youth Mentoring Institute.
In 2014, Jordan co-founded the ExCEL Youth Mentoring Institute with her mother Marcella Mollon Williams with a mission to provide an entrepreneurial and leadership program for youth to start and develop their own businesses.
“This experience was truly an act of faith. God gave us the idea of how to put this all together. I’m so grateful that it was a great success. We will continue to create platforms for youth to stand on and be seen. We are looking forward to next year. When kids see more they’ll be more,” Jordan said.
The program recognized entrepreneurs, mentors and leaders in companies who excel in growth, innovation, financial performance and commitment to their communities.
WJLA “Good Morning Washington” anchor Jessob Reisbeck led the gala agenda as the master of the ceremony with encouraging remarks shared by a spokesperson for Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.
Miguel Coppedge, 10, a three-time bestselling author, won the ExCEL 2019 Youth Author Award. Moziah Bridges, 17, CEO of Mo’s Bows, received the male trailblazer of the year award.
The audience stood to its feet and applauded the efforts of Miguel as he acknowledged his adoptive mother Yolanda Coppedge for loving him and giving him the support he needed to have publish his first book, “The Adventures of FireMan,” in 2015.
He now has three published books, all available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other retail websites.
“I’m very grateful that she adopted me and she is my mom because she really takes care of me and loves me. I have met President Barack Obama. I was honored tonight; it’s amazing. I want to let kids know that you are never too young to do something powerful,” he said with a smile.
District natives Colin, 13, Ryan, 10, and Austin Gill, 8, of Freres Branchiaux candles were part of a group of 12 finalists from across the U.S.
“It was amazing to see a room full of young creatives and change makers. It is a reminder that we are not alone as young business owners,” said Gabrielle Williams of Glorious Pastries who supplied cupcakes for dessert at the gala.
Jahkil Jackson, 11, creator of the “I am project,” and Gabby Goodwin, 12, CEO of Gabby Bows, were also honored by their peers with the Change Maker and Entrepreneur awards, respectively.
The honorees were introduced and presented with their awards by youth entrepreneurs and community leaders during the ceremony including dinner. Afterward, they participated in a trailblazer chat held at the University of Maryland Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center in College Park.
“Don’t underestimate these young people because they do have what it takes. And if you believe in them, they can get to where they want to go,” said honoree Susannah Wellford, founder of Running Start which develops youth who interested in pursuing leadership positions in politics.