GREENWICH, Conn., -- Sargent Shriver lived a full and active life, a life anchored in his Catholic faith and a determination to serve, his son Mark Kennedy Shriver said at a fundraising event in Greenwich for Westport's Save the Children.
“I realize he had a great amount of joy. He was fired up every morning to really go out and enjoy God’s grandeur,” Mark Shriver said of the influence his father had on him.
Shriver spoke to a group of about 80 people at the Riverside Yacht Club on Thursday at an event hosted by Willie Geist of "Today" show fame.
Shriver wrote “A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver” about his father, who founded the Peace Corps and was instrumental in creating the War on Poverty.
Proceeds from the evening benefited Westport-based Save the Children, where Shriver serves as senior vice president of strategic initiatives.
In a relaxed and amiable interview format that featured frequent laughs and quips from Shriver and Geist, Shriver spoke about his father and their relationship and also about his own work on behalf of children.
Shriver spoke passionately about work that Save the Children does on behalf of children both nationally and internationally. That work ranges from providing health services to helping to provide goats to Guatemalan families through microlending programs that help lift them out of poverty.
“Anybody can do it, you can do it by supporting Save, you can do it by volunteering at the local community center, teaching a kid how to read,” he said. “There are all sorts of different ways to make a difference. You don’t have to run Save the Children’s U.S programs or start the Peace Corps.”
Shriver said Save the Children is working to ensure that politicians pay attention to children.
“We are trying to create a movement of people,” he said, saying there should be an “NRA for Children” in an acknowledgement of that group’s lobbying strength.
Angelique Bell, president of the Greenwich Leadership Council of Save the Children, said the organization decided to have a more low-key affair compared with the galas that they hold every two years on behalf of Save the Children.
“This is our gala year, and we decided to change it up and make it more intimate affair,” she said.
Four years ago, the organization hosted a gala featuring Matt Damon that attracted 500 people to the Hyatt Regency Greenwich, while two years ago they returned to the Hyatt with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford from the "Today" show in another gala.
Inviting Shriver to come and talk about his father, his book and the work he does on behalf of children was a natural fit.
“We are inspired by his dad and we are inspired by his father,” she said. “And clearly Sargent had a tremendous influence on Mark and Mark has brought it forward with Save the Children.”
All attendees of the evening benefit received a signed copy of Shriver’s book.