Sugar Hill Council member Alvin Hicks routinely volunteers his time with the program and is seen here assisting participants with the tie challenge. Photo by Alicia Payne.

Middle School is undoubtedly one of the toughest periods of time that a person goes through on their way to adulthood. It is a time of transformation from childhood into being a teenager, a time of discovering who they are and where they fit in socially. Middle School is a pivotal time that can ultimately make or break a child and have a profound impact on their future. 

Dr. Bobby Gueh goes over an exercise with the program participants on Saturday, Feb. 24 at the E Center in Sugar Hill. Photo by Alicia Payne.

Dr. Bobby Gueh, a professor at Georgia State University and former counselor at Lanier High School knows this all too well. He grew up in a rough neighborhood in Trenton, New Jersey and he credits his success to a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Morrison, where he grew up who mentored youth. Dr. Gueh was invited to participate in their youth enrichment group, the Young Scholars Institute when he was in middle school.

The Young Scholars Institute was a place where the kids were helped with their homework and grew into a program where the kids were exposed to business professionals and taken on college campus tours.

“The experience of that engagement part, when I say it impacted me, I literally probably would not be here today without that because growing up in a city like Trenton, New Jersey, you are dealing with the challenges of drugs, gangs and violence,” said Dr. Gueh. 

Everyone participating with Brothers Making Moves speaks about how their week went and what they are grateful for during a group session on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, at the E Center. Photo by Alicia Payne.

Statistics show that Dr. Gueh is not alone in crediting their mentor, with 74% of people who had “a meaningful mentor” saying that their mentor “contributed significantly to their success later in life,” according to

When Dr. Gueh became an adult and was in a position to be able to impact the lives of young males, he knew he would start his own youth enrichment program like the one he participated in when he was young. He has started not just one but two youth enrichment programs with his first group, Distinguished Gentlemen being formed when he was a counselor at Lanier High School. DG is still going strong at Lanier HS.

Fast forward to this year and Dr. Gueh formed the second youth enrichment program of his career, Brothers Making Moves. BMM works with 7th and 8th graders from mostly Lanier Middle School who were recommended for the program by their school counselors. 

Dr. Bobby Gueh assists one of the program participants with learning to tie a tie. Photo by Alicia Payne.

“We are not necessarily looking for kids that are getting in trouble or having behavior issues,” said Dr. Gueh. “We told them this is a holistic approach to what we are doing so we want kids that have those leadership qualities that even if they may not feel it because they have been getting in trouble, are not coming to school or are going through some things. We also want to focus on the kids who are getting ostracized, they don’t have friends or don’t have that social connection.” 

The group, which meets on Saturday mornings at the E Center in Sugar Hill, goes through various exercises that are designed to make the boys more confident, be able to better communicate their thoughts and feelings, and give them the sense of belonging that many of them are missing.

A couple of exercises that the group did on a recent Saturday morning were sharing details about their lives and learning to tie a tie. Each boy and mentor shared with the others something about their week that was good, something that they struggled with and something that they were grateful for. The learning to tie a tie exercise was about more than just the act of tying a tie. The boys were placed into groups and the first group to successfully tie all their ties won a prize. This had the boys in the groups helping one another and cheering each other on. When each boy was able to get their ties fixed perfectly, they transformed right before one’s eyes. They stood a little taller, had a smile on their face and had more confidence.

Scenes from the tie challenge during a recent meeting of Brothers Making Moves. Photo by Alicia Payne.

The boys are mentored by a dedicated group of adults led by Dr. Gueh. The adults may come from different backgrounds but they all share a common goal — to better the lives of these boys and turn them into successful young men. The mentors include men from the community, as well as graduate students from Georgia State University who learned about the organization through Dr. Gueh.

“Middle school boys are the most underrepresented and underheard group of students in the building. Gwinnett County is such a large county that so many of them are going unseen,” said Natalie Song, a first-year school counseling graduate student at GSU. “When they get to come to something more local and they have adults saying their name, remembering them and seeing them, it’s so much more powerful. They are more willing to listen and to hear you and to make moves when they feel seen.”

A winner of the tie challenge collects their prize from GSU graduate student Wendell Benjamin. Photo by Alicia Payne.

For more information on Brothers Making Moves or to donate to help the organization continue its good works in the community, visit or catch them on Instagram.

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