Photo Gallery | Greater Enrichment Program honors local teacher, supporters
Kindergarten through 6th graders smiled with big, grins as they welcomed the crowd of people to the Great Enrichment Program’s Annual Luncheon. They are smiling because they know many of their visitors are the very people who help GEP maintain the programs that provide fun, education and make a difference in their lives.
Each child looked an adult in the eye, many offered a firm, confident handshake, and the children talked with their guests with ease. Many learned these traits through their afterschool program.
The Greater Enrichment Program provides out of school educational, cultural and social opportunities in a safe place to help young people succeed. The program also includes and supports parents with its programs. Program founder, Bishop George Battle says the focus is on the whole family. The GEP helps children learn, develops their confidence and character and encourages students to achieve their best in school and the Charlotte community.
At Wednesday’s luncheon, the audience was entertained by the GEP Young Achievers Choir made up of 6th graders from Bruns Elementary School. The keynote speaker was Demond T. Martin. A UNC Charlotte graduate, Martin spoke about the power of mentoring he experienced as a child and young man. He grew up in an economically disadvantaged household. He talked about the difference an education made to change the trajectory of his family’s life in one generation. He graduated with a BA in Business from UNCC, where he was also the student body president as a sophomore and then worked under Erskine Bowles in the White House Chief of Staff’s office during the Clinton Administration. Martin earned a Harvard MBA graduate degree and serves on many non-profit boards. He is a partner at Adage Capital Management. He challenged the listeners at the luncheon to mentor.. to lend time, interest, and financial support to young people. He is living proof of the difference a mentor can make in a young person’s life. That is what the GEP does in the Charlotte Community.
The GEP program began in 1975 and continues with community support, including help from Bank of America, a founding sponsor, and WBTV. The program operates in 4 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Elementary Schools and two community centers. The program employs a staff and has a team of teachers at each school to work in the licensed afterschool program. Students from local colleges and universities are among the volunteers who work in the program. To learn more about the Greater Enrichment Program, head to their website at www.gepine.org or call them at 704.334.8518.