Golden Apple Recipient - Gerald Gibson
Gerald Gibson, who as a child lacked a
strong male role model and made many poor choices, started as a volunteer in the
Fayette County Attorney’s Office and eventually was hired as an interventionist.
Dixie Magnet Elementary appreciates Gibson and his program, Operation Making A
Change, which aims to help boys understand the importance of making good
decisions. Reflecting on his younger years, he created OMAC and now shares it
through partnering with attorney Larry Roberts and former police officer Greg
Gibson piloted OMAC at Dixie with a half-dozen fifth-grade boys.
Teachers chose the students based on who would benefit from a male mentor and/or
had noticeable leadership potential. The change in attitude and self-confidence
among the piloted group persuaded Dixie to expand the program in 2014-2015. Last
year, Gibson met with about 20 fourth- and fifth-graders once a week, teaching
them about leadership and what it takes to become a successful young man. Gibson
takes time to get to know each child as an individual, and each boy knows that
he believes in them. He often calls or stops by Dixie throughout the week to
check on the boys and let them know that he expects them to always set a good
During the 30 minutes that Gibson meets with this group, he
plans meaningful discussions about the importance of education, being respectful
and showing responsibility. He coordinates fun and engaging team-bonding
activities as well. Support from the Fayette County’s Attorney Office also
allows this team of boys to take field trips, such as a visit to Bluegrass
Christian Camp where they participated in team-building activities, learned
about good sportsmanship through competitive sports, produced an art project,
and even strapped on a harness to swing out over a cliff.
program has positively impacted the climate at Dixie as the OMAC boys were
assigned to mentor younger students and play it forward. In reviewing office
referral data for student behavior, Dixie found that between August 2013 and
February 2014, there were 65 referrals involving fourth- and fifth-grade boys.
In 2014-2015, the number was cut to only nine. Dixie believes that Gibson’s
enthusiasm and dedication make a difference in the lives of its students by
inspiring, motivating and encouraging them to be role models, leaders and high
Interview with Gerald Gibson