The summer of 2019 was a violent one in Owensboro’s west end. Although the violence was not necessarily new, things intensified within the younger crowd. A summer that should have been pool parties and bonfires quickly escalated into shootings, which left the community shaken. West End residents could feel the tension, and it was clear that teenagers needed guidance. As a native to the part of town most heavily affected, Brionna Greer, who graduated from OHS in 2015, wanted to spark change.

Brionna Greer, a student at Kentucky State, created a non-profit organization, ‘Greer Growing Organization,” in July. The organization includes a couple sub-sections including “breaking the cycle” and the mentor group.  At her first event in July, where she discussed the impact of generational incarceration, Greer realized that the best way to break the cycle was to invest in the kids most at risk for a troubled lifestyle. 

The group currently has over thirty mentees, who are specifically matched with a mentor who can best assist them. The mentees include both genders, and a variety of grades ranging from eighth graders to seniors. Those involved, or who wish to be, can anticipate life-skills building activities such as job shadowing, interview sessions with local entrepreneurs, college visits, et cetera. 

“My hope for the program is that the kids take advantage of it. The overall objective is to secure their future. I do not want to see anyone go down the wrong path when there are people, like myself and others, willing to help,” says Greer. 

“It started off as an organization that Brionna was doing for incarcerated parents, and then considering everything that happened following June 1st. Everyone in our community felt grief, they were two people we grew up with. So she responded with a new group, one that understands the unique difficulties we face, and keeps our community from experiencing a similar tragedy,”says Tamia Baker, senior.

Greer says that that for many urban kids, sports are the only way out of their circumstances. Her idea is to “establish a back-up plan, and introduce them to options they did not even know they had,” says Greer.

The mentorship program relies on one of the oldest principles—what people invest in their community—will return. Only 2 months into the program, it is evident that this principle will remain true with Brionna Greer behind the scenes.

Greer advises those interested to contact her on any social media, or @ggo_nonprofit_, the official page, on Instagram. Donations are accepted through Greer as well, everything ranging from school supplies to food will be appreciated.

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