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Carl Junction Volunteer Gets High Praise from Students and Teach - KOAM TV 7

Carl Junction Volunteer Gets High Praise from Students and Teachers; Mr. Greg Now a Staple at the School

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CARL JUNCTION, MISSOURI -  It's the last day of school in Carl Junction and as kids said goodbye to teachers for the summer, some  also did so to a special friend.

 One they simply call, “Mr Greg.”

Kids first experience Mr. Greg in kindergarten.

He reads to them. And then students read to Mr. Greg.

The library teacher Beth Stephens says, "He's a confidence builder in the way that he just always is a positive reinforcement for them.  He doesn't seem critical. He's just happy and kind with them."

Greg tells the kids, “Good job.”  And they give him high fives.

Principal Kari Arehart says, "I think they're comfortable with him because they know he has to work hard to read himself and has to practice and try. And they're willing to do almost anything with him because he understands."

Greg's developmentally disabled. He's been coming to the school with his sister Teri Carter, a school counselor, since the 1980's. He came because he was curious about her job and got hooked.

Teri says, "It really peaked his interest in wanting to learn because back in the day,  he really did not get that exposure into the school setting and to learning.   So he really soaked everything up. He was like a sponge."

Besides volunteering in classrooms, Mr Greg is a big help on the playground pushing kids on swings or helping at the monkey bars. He helps teachers with laminating, cutting and other tasks.  That's his day. He works  as a part time custodian at night.

Greg says, "It keeps me out of trouble, that's one thing i can say!"

He's kind of a jokester too.

"Yes I am. I'm so funny I can laugh about it," chuckles Greg.

Mr.Greg left an impression on former kindergartner, Jack Spencer.

Jack explains, "He's excited a lot.  And that's a good thing. I'm not saying that's a bad thing.  It's a really good thing. He helps the kids and he just brings excitement and he's really good with the whole building."

So Jack, whose mom is Koam-tv's news director, thought the world needed to know about Mr. Greg.  And what we can all learn from him.

For Jack it's, "That everybody's different and even though people have problems, they can still just help. And help a lot and do their best.”

The principal agrees. Arehart says, "I absolutely think Greg provides them with a basic understanding and some acceptance of differences people have. And if they thought that Greg had been made fun of, or teased for  his differences, they would  be very defensive and upset about that. So I do think he is a great person for them to have a great life experience with and understand that bullying hurts people of all kinds of differences no matter what they are."

But Jack and the principal are not the only ones to notice. Mr. Greg has a wall of volunteer and service awards..

Greg simply says, "I'm good at my job!"

His sister Teri says the recognition is great. "I think it has been amazing for his self-esteem. There's one teacher in particular reminds him he has such a great work ethic.  And it just makes him glow to get those compliments back from other people. And even the children themselves, they're always high fiving him.

That's Greg's favorite part of the day.

He says, "It's working  with the kids.”  “They're nice to me."

    Mr. Greg would probably have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum, but that didn't exist when he was a kid.

     He's happy to have found his place in school now.

     This summer. He has plans to travel to Colorado to visit family and then Alaska.

    But he will be back at school again next year.

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