Professor says childhood mentors saved his life. He aims to do same for others.

Bobby Gueh speaks to students at a summer retreat for Brothers Making Moves Enrichment Academy. Courtesy of Bobby Gueh

Credit: Courtesy of Dr. Bobby Gueh

Credit: Courtesy of Dr. Bobby Gueh

Bobby Gueh speaks to students at a summer retreat for Brothers Making Moves Enrichment Academy. Courtesy of Bobby Gueh

Professor Bobby Gueh wants to save the lives of young men. He wants to inspire them, to push them to pursue their dreams, help them see the greatness that lies within them. He’s dedicated his career to this mission, all because two people did the same for him when he was a child. While society told Gueh a negative story about who he was, Randy and Gerri Morrison told him a different story, one that changed the trajectory of his life.

Gueh was just 8 years old when he, his mother, and three siblings fled Liberia. His father was in America on a student visa while in seminary and was pastoring at a church. He told his church about the troubles his family has having back home. A civil war was brewing in Liberia and soldiers had come to the house and threatened to kill them. The church raised money and evacuated the family to Trenton, New Jersey.

“It was a whole new world,” said Gueh, 45. “I was an African Black kid trying to assimilate. Even the Black American kids didn’t like me. I found myself trying to adapt to a very negative culture where violence, gang life and drugs were normal.”

Gueh was in middle school when he was introduced to Randy Morrison and his wife Gerri. They led an after-school program and invited Gueh to join. The group met to do homework in a church basement.

As years passed, Gueh continued with the Morrison’s program. The group went on college tours, including historically Black colleges.

“That was a very impactful experience,” said Gueh, of Sugar Hill. “That planted the seed for me. I knew after those tours that I wanted to go to college.”

Though a high school counselor discouraged Gueh from going to college, he graduated from South Carolina State University with a degree in education.

“I saw how the Morrisons poured into me. I wanted to return to Trenton to do the same for other kids,” said Gueh.

When no jobs were available at a local elementary school, it was the Morrisons that lit a path for Gueh. By this time, their program had become a charter school, the Young Scholars Institute (it has since become a year-round after school learning center.) The Morrisons suggested Gueh work there as a substitute teacher.

“I was with fourth graders, and I loved it,” said Gueh. “We connected quickly, and the school kept bringing me back to teach them. It was difficult, too, though. Imagine, little fourth graders talking about the abuse they experience at home, hungry kids who didn’t have breakfast that morning or dinner the night before. Fourth graders selling drugs. I was 22. I didn’t know what I could do to help them, but that’s all I wanted to do.”

Naturally, it was the Morrisons who suggested a different path – one Gueh continues to travel.

“Randy asked what I thought about becoming a school counselor. I hadn’t thought about it until that moment,” said Gueh. “I went back to school to get my masters in school counseling. It took me out of the classroom, which I missed, but now I could really help these kids with social and emotional issues. It was during those years that I saw the profound need to also become an advocate, particularly for Black boys going through educational injustices.”

Gueh worked as a school counselor in New Jersey for eight years, then moved to Gwinnett County in 2010 where he worked as a counselor at an elementary school, a middle school, then a high school. He led many mentor programs for boys over the years, which led him to launch Brothers Making Moves Enrichment Academy in 2018, a nonprofit that operates out of Sugar Hill.

“Currently, we partner with seventh-grade boys at Lanier Middle School, and we follow them through high school graduation,” said Gueh. “We give them academic support, we expose them to business leaders and fancy restaurants, take them on college tours, coach them in sports. It’s a powerful enrichment program that shows boys how much potential every single one of them has.”

Gueh is now a professor at Georgia State University. His students do volunteer work for Brothers Making Moves, as well as research.

“I’m grateful for the collaboration between GSU, Gwinnett County Schools, and the City of Sugar Hill – that’s quite the trifecta. That’s a lot of support and these kids see it and feel it, which is huge,” said Gueh.

Gueh’s long-term goal is to build a program that districts across the state can mimic.

“I want to do for young men the same thing the Morrisons did for me,” said Gueh, who stays in touch with his mentors. “They saved my life in so many ways. I can never repay them. They told me and all those other kids of our greatness when no one else did.”

It’s that message that echoes, not just in Gueh’s life, but in the lives of the young men he serves through Brothers Making Moves, where the mantra is “planting seeds of greatness.”

Bobby Gueh launched the Brothers Making Moves Enrichment Academy in 2018 to inspire young boys to reach their highest potential. Courtesy of Bobby Gueh

Credit: Courtesy of Bobby Gueh

icon to expand image

Credit: Courtesy of Bobby Gueh


HOW TO HELP

For more information about Brothers Making Moves visit brothersmakingmoves.com

About the Author