Retired Detention Officer Bruce Griggs, former CBS Talk Radio Host, and Concert Promoter founded Operation Correct Start, Incorporated in 1995 while recovering from a career ending injury in law enforcement.
While watching the Million Man March and deeply moved by the challenges made, Bruce made a commitment that very day, to improve the lives of young people who lived in the shelters of Atlanta.
He started by collecting school supplies, and was recognized by Mayor Bill Campbell as the City of Atlanta joined in. Bruce founded OCS to provide youth with two (2) tools they needed to succeed, not only in school but in life also. He concentrated his efforts on dealing with children that society had written off — the worst of these. He frequently says, “It could have been me…” (referring to him being adopted at 6 months old).
These children experienced a positive interaction with each other and Bruce, along with experiences outside their communities (White House trips, Panama City Beach, Black Wax Museum, hiking, White Water rafting and swimming) helped many of OCS’s first participants to completely change their lives.
His “Don’t Quit” attitude led OCS to grow from providing school supplies to homeless youth, to an agency that has served over 3500 youth to date, providing assistance with abuse, school drop outs, suicide, teen pregnancy, economic hardships and violence prevention.
In 1997 Bruce’s program started to receive local and national recognition. Bruce and OCS were recognized by Office Depot 1997, McDonalds, National Community Service Award 1993, Goody’s Headache Powder Award of Excellence 1999, Atlanta Falcons Community Quarterback 2001, United Way of Metro Atlanta 2002, Frank Ski Kids Foundation 2002, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
In 2005 Bruce Griggs was recruited to host Community Talk on CBS Radio because of his commitment to the community but his vision for a better life for young men continues as we build an even stronger OCS progress for our youth.
Seeing the strong need to keep youth in schools and out of jails, Bruce Griggs and radio personality Greg Street developed “The Street Academy” in 2000.
Recognizing that many of the youth incarcerated on probation, in school suspension were interested in music, sports or entertainment, they used this as the “hook” to get kids interested in learning basic skills by exposing them to alternative careers in those industries.
Through the full cooperation of Junior Achievement and Allstate Insurance our goal has been to secure the volunteer participation of national celebrities in an effort to increase the interest of at-risk youth to become a “Street Soldier”. What is a Street Soldier? It is one who is committed to eliminating violence from his / her life and community; one who reduces their risk factor deals with anger, fear and pain; and finally one who adopts new rules for living.
This program will also show (through the use of the Omega violence Prevention Disease Model) how to treat violence as a disease that manifests itself into two stages, one HIV (Hood Infectious Virus and AIDS (Addiction to Incarceration and Death Syndrome). A disease that has risk factors like negative views of women, guns, drugs and alcohol. The program teaches students how to recognize the risk factors, eliminate the emotional residue (anger, fear, pain) and then show students how to live without them by adapting New Rules For Living.
The mission statement of Operation Correct Start, Inc., is to increase the awareness of at-risk, disadvantaged and homeless youth with a focus on developing positive attitudes valuing and achieving higher educational levels, and developing high moral values that will increase their ability in succeeding and achieving life’s goals.