mentoring & diversity
One day, when Greg was 24, he witnessed two students treated poorly by an older customer at a local restaurant. Hoping to bridge the racial, cultural & generational divides which seemed to spark the conflict, Greg rounded up 10 people of diverse ages & backgrounds to return with him for brunch. The response was a positive one & it led him to start the mentoring program, The Brunch Bunch. For 243 consecutive weekends, he coordinated & hosted group brunches (usually 10-20 students & adults per week). After brunch, the group would play basketball or volunteer together. In the process of connecting through these forms of common ground (food, sports & volunteering), he hoped they would discover many other things they had in common. More than 700 students & adults participated in the mentoring program. Good Morning America buried a Time Capsule which chronicled the program's first 100 weeks. In addition to the brunches, Greg has donated his time to coordinate & host (or co-host) other events to help bring people of diverse races, cultures & backgrounds together. The groups have ranged in size from 5 to 500. The events have included dinners, galas, parties & a film premiere They have taken place in cities throughout the USA, Canada, Caribbean & Africa.
Greg has been invited to speak at events for organizations that value mentoring (i.e. Capital Region Sponsor-a-Scholar). He also has been retained to serve as a Mentor for programs for young philanthropists (i.e. McDonald's franchise had him serve as Mentor for Burger Day 2016 Team). The book based on Greg's story (The Silhouette Man) highlights his efforts to build a mentoring program from the ground up. It also looks in-depth at the relationship he had with the woman who mentored him throughout his life & the other influences which sparked his interest in issues like mentoring, philanthropy, service & diversity. The book was honored in Canada as a book that celebrates the wisdom of seniors. The condensed edition for students (The First Thirty) was Northeast Student Diversity Leadership Conference Multicultural Relations Book of the Year. The books &/or companion workbooks have been utilized extensively by both students & teachers by elementary schools (4th & 5th grades students), middle schools & high schools, colleges like University of North Carolina, mentoring programs (i.e. Advanced Mentoring Inc,), teams like Minnesota Vikings (for selected local students), companies like General Mills (for some of its own staff) & chapters of nonprofit organizations (i.e. I Have a Dream Foundation) in different cities & countries. In some instances, the books have been used as part of intergenerational programs (ie a program that connected high school seniors & senior citizens within the same community ordered copies of the book for all the participants as a culminating gift at the end of the program). Students in mentoring programs (i.e. Saturday Place) that support younger elementary school students have received copies of The Milkshake Man (the illustrated children's version of Greg's book) and One Lunch (the companion workbook). The organization also had Greg do a reading of The Milkshake Man for the kids Other groups that deliver mentoring programs (i.e. Our Kids Count) have utilized the Legacy Posters.