A few years ago, Vernon Green Jr.’s daughter came home to their Stafford residence crying about her day at school. When he asked what happened, she explained that the boys were causing trouble, the teachers couldn’t control it and she needed his help.
“All daughters think their daddies are superman when they are young,” says Green.
The following day, Green—an Army veteran, former minister and CEO of a cybersecurity company in NoVA—addressed his daughter’s class and told them sternly, but honestly, that the students’ behavior had to change and he would ensure it did. From down the hall, a few other teachers asked Green to do the same thing and before he knew it, the principal of Anthony Burns Elementary School inquired about turning that one lecture into a full-time program for young boys, eventually becoming nonprofit G3 Community Services.
While G3CS started as a mentorship program for young boys, it has since grown to benefit young children in Stafford County in general, as well as veterans and families in the NoVA region through extensive programming.
Extraordinary Young Minds is the organization’s longest-standing program, supporting character development of children in the school system through science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) initiatives, including lessons on coding, race car building and virtual and augmented reality. While this branch of the organization is currently offered at nine public schools in the county, Green hopes to extend the entirety of the group’s work to parts of Maryland and Washington, DC, in addition to more schools in Northern Virginia.
As of August, Green got a little bit closer to this goal with help from Fairfax native Jim Klock and actor Keanu Reeves, who recently produced Already Gone, a film about two New York City teens who attempt to escape complex upbringings. Following an introduction through Green’s long-time friend and Stafford County Sheriff David Decatur, Green was given the opportunity to partner with Reeves and the rest of his team to host a special screening of the film in New York, benefiting G3CS.
“I swear I thought it was a joke. I was like there’s no way,” says Green about the interest from Reeves. “It ended up being a win-win situation—they wanted a sponsor and we needed someone who would carry our message.”
While the event generated interest and several donations from attendees, ultimately fully funding one public school’s G3CS programs, Green’s focus is on finding more volunteers who can teach and inspire the organization’s participants.
“We are looking to move north but it goes by where I can generate volunteers,” says Green. “We want to have an impactful program, not something that’s barely getting by.”
Green is bringing his outreach efforts to his for-profit cybersecurity company, GCubed, Inc., too. Through internship programs for veterans transitioning out of the system to employee visits at participating G3CS schools, Green seeks to benefit NoVA’s community and workforce at the same time.
“I started to realize there’s a lack of qualified professionals in cybersecurity and information technology in our area, so by teaching these kids from the start, it helps put them into that pipeline of possibilities,” says Green. “If you can give people education, careers and opportunities we can change lives.”
Want more news about Northern Virginia schools? Subscribe to our semimonthly Education newsletter.