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Greg - Cincinnati

Author: BHGH Web Admin/Monday, February 17, 2014/Categories: National Success Stories

Greg - Cincinnati

Greg came to Boys Hope Girls Hope as a 13 year old. His father had passed away when Greg was still a child, leaving his family in straitened circumstances and in a neighborhood where drugs, gangs, and violence were the norm. Boys Hope Girls Hope gave him a safe home and helped him work through the anger and frustration engendered by his father’s death. Between Boys Hope Girls Hope and the strong women in his life—his mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother—Greg matured from an angry and confused boy into a poised, confident, and accomplished young man with a dazzling future ahead of him.

The closest he’d come to the football field since the sixth grade was playing in the marching band. He had played basketball throughout his high school career. But the team’s coach, St. Xavier High School’s head coach Steve Specht, having seen Greg play basketball, recognized his athleticism and wondered if he might not excel in a different arena. He encouraged Greg to come out for football.

Greg led St. Xavier through a 14-0 undefeated season and a state championship, garnering athletic scholarship offers from the University of Connecticut, Michigan, Michigan State, Miami of Ohio, Wake Forest, Ohio State, North Carolina State, Boston College, and the University of Louisville. After an agonizing decision-making process, Greg, partially because of its proximity to his family, decided on the University of Louisville. "I'm so grateful for what Boys Hope has done for me and I always will be," Greg says. "If it wasn't for them, I might not be where I am right now. But my mother saw the potential in me and I'm grateful for that, too. I'm blessed."

Picked in in the seventh round of the draft pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2012, Greg is our first alumnus with a Super Bowl ring. Picked up by the Chicago Bears in 2015, Greg has remained close to Boys Hope Girls Hope, and returns to Cincinnati frequently to mentor our current scholars.


 

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A Note from Erika Madrigal Martinez, 2002 Girls Hope graduate

 
As a freshman in high school, I did not understand the impact that Girls Hope (GH) was going to have in my life.  Looking back at the past ten years, I can honestly say that my enriching experience at GH propelled me to become the strong, confident, and independent woman that I am today.  Most importantly, GH allowed me to build relationships with people that, to this day, have been there to encourage, support, and guide me throughout all of my endeavors.  In other words, GH not only provided me with the tools to succeed as an individual, but it also gave me the opportunity to gain a second family.    
I first learned about GH through the secretary at my church who was also a good friend of the family.  She recommended that I apply to the program because she was aware of my parents’ desire to provide me with the best education despite the economic challenges that they faced.  As soon as my parents became aware of what GH provided, they knew that it was the life-changing opportunity they had been praying for.  I, on the other hand, was originally hesitant to leave home, but as soon as GH opened their doors to me, my apprehension disappeared, and success became my new reality.   
During my time at GH, I was exposed to a myriad of educational, social, and career opportunities.  For instance, GH provided me with a family-style and value-centered residential home, a scholarship to a private high school, tutoring, and continuous encouragement so that I could reach my academic potential.  In addition, GH introduced me to a limitless world where everything is possible and instilled in me the idea that goals can be reached.  As a result, I was able to attend Pepperdine University, study abroad in Argentina, intern in a congressional office, and participate in a nine-month, prestigious fellowship program in Washington, DC.  Moreover, following my fellowship, I was hired by the United States Department of Justice, Office of Immigration Litigation. There I was able to learn extensively about immigration law and even had the opportunity to meet Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor.  These, among other experiences, have allowed me to grow and have paved my way towards an even brighter future.   
In addition, the people that run GH have been key contributors to the positive experience that I have had.  The sponsors, staff, and house parents have, in many unique ways, shaped my life.  They have served as a reliable support system in which I have not only found inspiration and encouragement, but also comfort and love.  GH not only represents an educational opportunity, but also a life-long relationship that I truly cherish.  I feel privileged to be part of such a great organization that has and continues to impact my life in wonderful ways.