Derek Hawkins Sr. Testimonial
“Project Greer Street has been a great experience for my son, and I highly recommend the
program to future and current East High School students. Being a single parent has been tough
for me throughout the years, and with the help of Ron Sally, I have had the pleasure of not
having to worry about my son as much in his high school endeavors, due to the proper guidance
Mr. Sally has given. The program is such a great tool, because it has helped to keep my son
going in the right path, and that is what is needed in the present-day black community.
Ron Sally stepped up and showed us that, it is our job to make sure our sons are guided in the
right direction. Project Greer Street taught my son things that I wouldn’t be able to teach him,
such as, networking socially and professionally, test-taking strategies, and personal male
guidance, that a Mother cannot provide. I commend Ron Sally for creating the program, and for
his help with all of my son’s high school accomplishments and have high hopes that the
program will continue to soar.”
— Robin S., Project Greer Street Parent
Project Greer Street is one of the most impactful non-profit programs that I have seen in Denver Public Schools. My son has participated in Project Greer Street over the last four years and the personal growth he has made as a result is significant. I usually offer my children autonomy in which voluntary school-related programs that they participate in, but after learning about the program and the impact it has on young African American males who buy-in to the opportunity, I required my son to participate. Naturally, he resisted in the beginning, but now four years later I am sure he would agree that participating in the Project Greer Street program is one of the best things he did to prepare for college.
I was impressed by the program’s focus on not only getting into college, but in challenging the young men to expand their vision to include attending a top tier university. It is necessary to be put outside of one’s comfort zone to grow to the full extent possible. My son was definitely uncomfortable when through the program he learned how to prepare a resume. Initially, he resisted the process of drafting and revising the resume, but he persevered and now he can competently outline his skills and experience with confidence. He also learned communication, coordination, and planning skills from the program by learning the ins and outs of the college application process. From communicating via email to college counselors, teachers, and college coaches to soliciting letters of recommendation, my son was well prepared for the college admissions process because of his participation in the program.
The resources and opportunities provided by the program were considerable. My son was able to attend the Kelly School of Business summer program at Indiana University as a result of his participation in Project Greer Street. During this program, Cole gained experience on a college campus and learned skills that will help him pursue a business degree in college. This program helped Cole with test preparation and helped relieve much of the anxiety involved in taking the tests. The guest speakers the program brought in to speak with the young men helped expand Cole’s vision of what careers and experiences were possible with a good education.
Finally, we are truly grateful to the founders of Project Greer Street Ron and Yvette Sally. The effort and time that they put into providing such an impactful program for young African American males is impressive. From lining up guest speakers to regular communication with parents and students about the process of college preparation, the energy and commitment they model for the young men in the program is truly an example of servant-leadership. One of the strengths of the program is the consistent guidance and encouragement the program participants receive from Ron and his dedication to seeing these young men succeed. I am confident that Cole is more prepared to succeed in college because of his participation in the program.
Project Greer Street is a special program, I have never seen or heard of anything like it. My hope is that it will continue to help young men prepare for success in college and life well into the future.
-- Craig J., Project Greer Street Parent
I am very thankful for Project Greer Street. Mr. Sally has helped my son become more dedicated and devoted to his future. I am confident that my son now has a better chance to be successful in his life because of all of the knowledge that he has obtained from Mr. Sally. Every African American kid in high school should have this program to get off on the right track.
-- Nadia H., Project Greer Street Parent
Project Greer Street has had such an incredible impact on my future and academic career. Were it not for Mr. Sally and the program, I would have never been pushed to realize my full academic potential. Mr. and Mrs. Sally push everyone in the program to do things they would have never done, or even thought possible. Not only through exposing us to new and different opportunities such as internships, scholarships, jobs, and volunteer work, but also by giving us a chance to see what success looks like.
Mr. Sally has an extensive network of successful business people, partners and friends that he often introduces us to, so that we can grow our own network and learn to thrive in a world where connections and knowledge are key. He constantly sends us real world examples of how things should be done, and how things should not be done, always reminding us to stay focused and dedicated. Project Greer Street had its biggest impact on me during the college application process. What is most clear to me when I think back to it, was how together and organized everything was for me and my buddies that were also in the program, compared to my friends that had no such guidance and help, and who were struggling and worried for the whole process. I distinctly remember however, Mr. Sally sending me a list of schools that I should contact about my desire to play football at such schools. The list included several Ivy League schools that I chuckled at when I read them because I never saw myself in a college that was at the top of the academic world. In fact, I never even considered applying to one. That all changed with Mr. Sally who constantly pushed all of us to be our best and aim at the highest point possible and never settle for just being average. He knew what I was capable of even when I did not. His guidance, encouragement and road map for success have meant everything to me. Thanks to Mr. Sally and Project Greer Street, I have many opportunities that I never could have imagined before I met him. Every kid needs someone telling them to aim higher, and that is exactly what this program did for me.
-- Wesley O., Project Greer Street Student
When I think of the great work Mr. Sally has done with Project Greer Street, I am reminded of the quote by the great Muhammad Ali that states, "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth." Mr. Sally is certainly leading a life of service, purpose, and leadership and his impact on myself through Project Greer Street has been abundant. Growing up in a single-parent household, I never had a solid male-figure in my life. When I was accepted to be a part of Project Greer Street at the start of my freshman year, I was unaware of the bountiful opportunities it would grant me in the future. Project Greer Street was a safe haven for me because it helped me advance academically, professionally, and socially. If I had not been a part of this profound mentoring group, I would not have been able to take advantage of the many opportunities that have continuously come my way.
Recent statistics show that two-thirds of African American men will be incarcerated at some point in their lifetime. While this statistic is disturbing, I see a bright future for African American men like myself, because of programs like Project Greer Street. With more men like Mr. Sally who are willing to sacrifice time and money, we will continue to see advancement in inner-city communities. I am thankful to Project Greer Street for being a strong influence on why I am the man I am today. I hope this program will continue to bless and influence other African American men with similar experiences to mine.
-- Anthony S., Project Greer Street Student
Project Greer Street has benefited my son and our family beyond expectations! Mr. and Mrs. Sally provided not only support, tools, and preparation towards college applications for my son, but also invaluable support and guidance for myself as a parent.
The program is designed for African American high school boys. Based on the preparation, organization, knowledge, and credentials of Mr. Sally, it was evident to me that this program could easily be compared to selective college preparatory programs that cost a great deal of money for parents like myself.
The expectations and reality of the competition for admissions to colleges was set forth at the beginning of the program. The unfortunate disparity between African American boys and their non-African American peers was a reality that we could not ignore. Mr. Sally explained it in a clear and compelling manner. Project Greer Street was not only " leveling the playing field", but also setting the high standards required for admission to some of the top colleges and universities to provide a foundation for success and excellence for the young men.
I remember feeling overwhelmed, with all that was set forth and needed to help my son to reach the desired goal of college admission. Project Greer Street provided the support that we needed "and then some." We not only found out about several summer high school programs around the country that helped expand my son's college prep experiences and undoubtedly helped when applying for colleges, but the " hands-on approach" made us feel like a team. He applied for several of the summer programs and was chosen for the Bezos Summer Scholars program along with the LEAD summer program, among others. The Sallys spent many, many, many hours preparing my son to fulfill his potential and helping both of us to understand and stay focused on our goal.
Mr. Sally helped us to see way beyond the little knowledge we had about college admissions, to opening doors we did not even know existed. I am happy and humbled to say that my son was chosen to be a Robertson Scholar at Duke University and also earned a Ron Brown Scholarship.
We are forever grateful for the dedication and heart put into this program. We have more than benefited from all of it. I know that Project Greer Street touched our lives in a positive way that we will continue to see the benefits unfolding in the years to come.
Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Sally for all the long hours, dedication, and vision for this extraordinary program.
-- Elizabeth D., Project Greer Street Parent