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When Mia Fleming was a little girl, she knew she wanted to save the world.

“Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to help people,” the former Fox23 News anchor says. “I remember my mom saying, ‘Mia, you can’t save the whole world.’ I just remember saying, ‘Well, I want to.’”

Fleming pursued a career in journalism, where reporting allowed her to tell the stories of victims who had experienced painful tragedies, such as then-48-year-old rape victim Dee Jakubowski.

“When I first covered her story, I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach nagging me,” Fleming says. “Is this the right thing for me? Am I doing enough?”

That feeling followed Fleming through her 10-year career at Fox23. The more people she met, the more she felt their pain, loss and suffering.

“I would come home to my husband crying as if I knew the victim who had been killed or hurt,” Fleming says. “I have a bleeding heart I just can’t turn off. Soon, telling the story wasn’t enough anymore.”

Inspired by Jakubowski — who used her experience to help others as a hospital advocate and advisory board member at Domestic Violence Intervention Services — Fleming set out to become a voice for the voiceless.

She used her TV know-how to create “A Million Reasons Why: Changing a Million Lives,” a segment show, still in negotiations with local and national television networks but set to launch in fall 2012, that will feature philanthropic celebrity guests or local charities and their causes.

“I wanted to tell stories that make people stop, listen, act and understand that no act of kindness is too small,” Fleming says.

The show will also feature a complementary website, amillionreasonswhy.org, debuting March 10, where viewers can watch the stories that aired on television, make donations, blog and learn more about the featured causes.

“If we can get others to feel that same compassion … what a great world this could be,” Fleming says.

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Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Executive Chef Tim Wetsergard, Mia Fleming, Damario Solomon-Simmons and Dean Hudgeons get ready for the MVP Weekend, set for June 24. STEPHEN PINGRY/ Tulsa World

By DANNA SUE WALKER World Staff Writer



Correction: A Tuesday Tulsa World Scene section column misspelled the name of former Booker T. Washington high school football player Robert Meachem, who plays for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. This story has been corrected.


Felix Jones II, native Tulsan and Dallas Cowboys running back, is returning to his hometown to host the third-annual MVP Charity Weekend, which raises money for Tulsa’s inner-city youth.

The weekend, which has a variety of activities, will feature the Blue Tie Fundraising Gala beginning at 8 p.m. June 24 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Williams Cos. is presenting the gala, which will include an MVP awards program, live music and silent and live auctions, including luxury items, exclusive sports memorabilia and one-on-one time with favorite celebrities of the sports and entertainment industry.

In addition, guests can mingle with some of today’s most recognizable names in the sports business, including Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys; Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Robert Meachem, New Orleans Saints; Phil Loadholt, Minnesota Vikings and Chris Chamberlain, St. Louis Rams.

“We have helped hundreds of Tulsa’s inner-city youth get closer to their goals through this charity weekend’s events and donations,” said Damario Solomon-Simmons, who co-founded MVP Weekend with his wife, Mia Fleming.

“We use the Weekend to inform, inspire and empower our youth to maximize all their opportunities – on and off the field – to be successful, productive and well-rounded citizens.”

The weekend also includes a golf tournament presented by Arvest Bank at 8:30 a.m. June 24.

Golfers will tee off at the Cherokee Hill Golf Club alongside Jones and a host of friends from sports and entertainment. Following the nine holes of golf, there will be an awards reception and lunch buffet.

The weekend also features a free football camp hosted by Jones from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 25 at the University of Tulsa’s H.E. Chapman Stadium. The camp is focused on emphasizing the importance of academics and mental preparation in life to inner-city high school student athletes.

Tulsa Community College will also host a free college preparatory seminar to which parents are invited. The seminar will feature advice from college educators.

Sponsors for the weekend include Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Bill Knight Ford, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Solomon Simmons Sharrock & Associates, Arvest Bank, Gatorade, Sodexo, Williams, Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa.

To purchase tickets to the gala or golf tournament, or to learn more about MVP Weekend, visit tulsaworld.com/mvpweekend

By DANNA SUE WALKER World Staff Writer
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