GZBF’s LAMP Mentor Program began its 2019-20 year with a stellar event. On August 24, 2019, we gathered at Fleming’s Restaurant and Wine Bar for an Orientation for all Mentees and the parents of new Mentees. During the Orientation we focused on the expectations of the LAMP Mentor Program towards its Mentees and the parents of Mentees. We also focused on what expectations the Mentees and parents should have for the Program. Each Mentee and parent introduced themselves with their name, high school name and grade, and what they expected to gain by participating in the LAMP Mentor Program. Parents provided the name of a college they attended and what they were looking for their son to gain by participating in the Program. We believe that it is important for the young men to hear their parents’ expectations. Finally, we had the adult volunteers introduce themselves and speak a little bit about why they volunteer their time and resources to the GZBF LAMP Mentor Program. Gilbert Holmes, Co-Program Coordinator, stated that one of the goals for the Program this year is to create a Parental Auxiliary and to connect with more GZBF LAMP Alumni.

Ramsey Jay, Jr., president of the GZBF also provided words of inspiration and challenge. As he described it, each of the parents have three gifts that are in abundance at one time or another – their time, their talents, and their treasures. He challenged the parents to provide some of whichever one they have in abundance to the success of the Program. After the Orientation, we took pictures of the GZBF LAMP Mentees in attendance and their parents.

In addition to the Orientation, the August activity included an Etiquette Class. Ronald Martin, the first African American member of Les Clef d’Ordo, the international society of Consigner’s, conducted the class. The class covered dress etiquette, social graces, respectful treatment of women, greetings, behavior at a business lunch or dinner, and dining etiquette. During the class, the Mentees engaged is several spirited discussions with Mr. Martin as they sought to understand etiquette traditions in the context on the lives in the 21st Century.
After the class, we had lunch at the Fleming’s Restaurant and Wine Bar. The Mentees had to negotiate the placement of the bread dish, the beverage glasses and the napkins – all matters they had learned in the class. They also had to order from a menu and engage in conversation during the lunch. They were not permitted to use their cell phones during lunch – a challenges for several of them, but one that they met with few reminders. Even at the beginning of the lunch, Mr. Martin conducted a refresher course on the basic etiquettes surrounding eating in a public setting with multiple pieces of silverware and drinking glasses. We served juice in the wine glasses to give the Mentees the experience of how to hold stem glasses and water glasses.

Finally, we wish to thank Fleming’s Restaurant and Wine Bar for hosting the August activity. Chef Mo, Chef Partner, Maria Haro, Operating Management Partner, Britta Piotrowsky, Private Dining Director and the entire staff for their assistance, hospitality, flexibility, and excellent food. Combined they created a genuine and impactful environment of the LAMP Mentor Program to conduct its Orientation, to hold a significant class on etiquette, and to introduce the Mentees to fine dining.