My Ghanaian, West African father and southerner mother married and eventually settled in Brooklyn, New York. It was there that I was born shortly after. My mother became terminally ill when I was a child died by the time I was 12 years old. 

My father and I subsequently moved to Connecticut and found residence in Stamford. Despite living with him, I lacked emotional and financial support from him. Life with him was difficult and rough. I was mainly supporting myself. I didn’t have anyone that I could grocery shop with or to even come to my basketball games. I was completely alone and unmotivated to do anything.

Determined to achieve success in my aspirtations, I knew that I would need help. The best decision I’ve made to date was reaching out to the East Side Partnership of Stamford. I needed guidance. It was there that I met James Grunberger, chairman of the group.

Mr. Grunberger saw and believed in my value. He invested in me emotionally, academically and financially. His guidance during my lows were pivotal. He came to all of my basketball games and helped me resolve problems at home. He symbolized an actual father figure. He defines empathy, compassion and unconditional care through his words and actions. Kids don’t feel that they owe him anything, except respect and academic success.

Since meeting Mr. Grunberger, I am now in a better mental state and much farther in life. I am now I am a sophomore in college with many aspirations to keep improving myself. My whole mindset is different. I don’t think I could thank him enough. I owe him everything.