April 27, 2020 | Comments Off on Tuesday’s At Noon – A Lunch Buddy’s Desire To Do More
Matthew Greer shares his experience and commitment to Alexander Youth Network over the past 11 years.
Matthew Greer, a local to Charlotte, has a family history of involvement with Alexander Youth Network. As a child, Matthew’s father was a volunteer and Board member at Alexander. When Matthew’s standing Tuesday lunch dates with his Charlotte Mecklenburg School lunch buddy ended at the end of the year, his father reminded him of Alexander. In the summer of 2009, he took inspiration from his father and became a lunch buddy for a kid in the Charlotte Day Treatment program.
Now, more than 11 years later, Greer is in his second year as a Board member for Alexander Children’s Foundation, has formed a corporate partnership with his company, JLL, and has become a committed advocate for children’s behavioral health.
“Through my involvement with Alexander, I have realized that mental and behavioral health challenges can affect anyone. And, the children at Alexander have grown up in some of the toughest circumstances making it even harder for them to overcome those challenges,” said Matthew Greer.
While Matthew’s father was a big inspiration for his desire to get involved, Matthew also reflects on a family friend’s experience with children’s mental health challenges. After hearing about a close friend’s struggle with his child’s mental health, he realized how important it was to be a connection for a child. Being able to positively influence a child’s life early on can leave a lasting impact for years to come.
Matthew shared, “It is critical to help kids when they are young because there are so many years after that, which can be changed by one interaction.”
In eight years, Matthew had the opportunity to make lasting relationships with seven different lunch buddies at Alexander- he has attended birthday parties and volunteered on a frequent basis. He was able to be a mentor and role model for seven kids at Alexander, but in the past few years realized he could do more. By becoming a Board member, Matthew can provide more connections for the children at Alexander. Through a partnership with JLL, Matthew has encouraged an entire business community to surround and support the children of Alexander.
JLL has not only become a financial sponsor of Alexander, but also a frequent volunteer group. They have hosted kick-ball tournament for our kids in our residential program, a bowling fundraiser for our summer day treatment programs, and multiple staff members have become lunch buddies – spending at least one hour a week on campus just like Matthew did when he started at Alexander.
Greer believes that getting involved with the kids has been a catalyst for his company. Being on campus has broken down the stigma associated with mental health challenges and helped others realize that the kids at Alexander are just normal kids that just need some extra love and support.
“They are just kids, all they want is for someone to care about them and they just deserve a better start than they’ve had,” says Matthew.
For Matthew, what started out as a desire to be a mentor for kids and a free lunch hour every week has blossomed into over a decade of relationships and connection inspiring others. His dedication to the agency has encouraged others to find their own ways of getting involved. For our kids, that has meant not only more resources for programs but more connections to volunteers and resources.
To make a gift to Alexander Youth Network, please visit our donation page.
Matthew Greer is the Executive Vice President of Industrial Services at JLL. Aside from also being a Board member of the Alexander Children’s Foundation, he is a local of Charlotte, a father of three, and actively coaches youth sports.
Written by Emily Gordon.