Where does the Inspiration Come From?

Ever since he could remember, Bruce Griggs has been involved with, and working with his life’s purpose – service to youth.

Bruce never knew his real parents, since he was six months old;  Bruce was raised by his adopted parents, William J. and Rubye C. Griggs.  His mother taught high school Home Economics and his father and mentor was an Elementary School Principal and Recreation Center Director.

William J. Griggs Recreation Center, LaGrange, Georgia

Early on, Bruce showed signs of following in his parents footsteps. At age 10 he taught swimming lessons under his father’s direction every summer.   After high school he attended Fayetteville State University , majoring in Social Work/Criminal Justice, with hopes of becoming a teacher.  There he continued to teach and even held a work study assignment as a Water Safety Instructor until an act of faith introduced him to the campus radio station.  While at the radio station, his name became a household name on campus and in the community.    He also served as a delegate for the North Carolina Coalition of Historically Black Colleges, served as Vice President of his Junior Class, and was a member of the College chapter of the NAACP and was active in the community at large.

In Loving Memory Of William J. Griggs

In loving Memory of my father,
Mr. Griggs — admired, respected and beloved.

(Excerpt from the LaGrange Daily News’ tribute to William J. Griggs)

…but, like his wonderful life, the timing of his departure too, was instructional. All Troup County should be thankful for the long and exemplary leadership William Griggs.

A role model of unwavering constancy, Mr. Griggs touched his adopted community in countless … See More ways and many places. First he served his country in World War II, then he served his community for more than half a century, as churchman, civic leader, school administrator, recreation
leader, volunteer and more.He was a trailblazer, too, accomplishing many impressive “firsts,” but always with a focus on helping others.

From his arrival here in 1950, until recent years, when age and illness robbed him of his vitality, he led by example, always
with compassion and commitment.Griggs was among a generation of dedicated black educators who started their careers in segregated schools, then became leaders in the desegregated LaGrange City Schools.

He helped build bridges during the difficult transition years, earning respect at every turn and helping to smooth the path for many who followed.He had a keen mind, but a twinkle in his eye. He had a calming presence, but a natural warmth and encouraging nature. He believed in doing things the right way for the right reasons, but he understood human frailty and the need for second, sometimes, third chances.William Griggs’ son Bruce described him aptly as “a father to the community.” Long before the phrase was coined, he and his wife Rubye understood that “it takes a village” to raise a child. He helped raise thousands, and for that reason, his legacy is limitless – and never-ending.

Professionally, after graduation he has worked with major corporations, radio stations, produced concerts of the stars, and served as a law enforcement officer. In 1991, he graduated form the DC Police Academy, and was assigned to Lorton Prison, one of the nation’s most violent institutions. The day he entered those gates his life changed forever. There he worked extensively with young inmates at Lorton’s Youth Center , starting as an officer. In this position, others recognized his special gift to reach the young, as he moved to become Youth (Gang) Specialist, then Youth Program Coordinator (Specializing in Violence Prevention). There he developed relationships and collaborations between his old mends in the entertainment business, the Court, community organizations, and the corporate community to provide services to help these youth enter back into society.

In 1993, Bruce moved back to Georgia to be closer to his parents, who were now retired. He began working for the City of Atlanta , Department of Corrections. In 1995, he was severely injured, and while in recovery he watched closely the Million Man March. The challenge, “what were you doing for your community”. Bruce felt he owed something back. It had bothered him that some children from a homeless shelter he had passed on his way to and from work didn’t seem to have even basic school supplies. If there is one thing Bruce knew, it is that children should have a full supply of notebooks and such to meet the school year. He did when he was growing up, and he didn’t feel it was right for others to do without. He felt he could make a difference, and began selling doughnuts to raise funds. Soon his fellow officers had joined the effort, and Operation Correct Start was born.

In 2003, State Representative Carl Von Epps introduced into the Georgia General Assembly a resolution, honoring Mrs. Rubye C. Griggs, in appreciation for her work as an educator and her numerous contributions to her community and to the State of Georgia.  The resolution was adopted and issued.

Finally, during the latter part of 2008, Professor William J. Griggs passed away, leaving an extensive legacy of community service work, especially in the area of youth development.  

To this day, Bruce is a avid volunteer, a youth mentor and member of 100 Black Men of America, Inc., and continues to work among youth involved in the juvenile justice system, gangs, homeless shelters, and community neighborhood revitalization projects. He serves as the Founder and Executive Director for Operation Correct Start, Inc., whose programs include Street Academy In-School & After-School Program, Violence Prevention Diversionary Program, Boys to Men Summer Camp, and events like the Mother-Daughter Lock-lnlBoys to Men Lock-In, and the OCS School Supply Give-A-Way. He has also presented and volunteered at several local and national conferences including the National Youth Crime Prevention Conference, Youth Task Force, and Travis Smiley’s Youth 2 Leaders Conference.

He is a trained Violence Prevention Specialist, featured Motivational Speaker, facilitator, grant writer, workshop presenter, and trainer. Bruce has been the recipient of many awards including the proclamation of Operation Correct Start Day by the City of Atlanta in his honor, the Citizenship Award for Nonprofits, United Way Leadership Award, Goody’s Headache Powder National Community Leader Award, and .Mentor of the Year from the Frank Ski Kids Foundation.

In his spare time, Bruce enjoys listening to all types of music on the radio, swimming, cooking, the arts, and traveling with his lovely wife, Yolanda. He has one daughter, Kaycee.