Greg Corbin, Executive Director of the Philly Youth Poetry Movement (PYPM) and PYB’s partnering academic instructor and mentor, shares a little bit about himself, his commitment to holistic youth development, and what motivates him about PYB.
Philly-bred, Greg attended Martin Luther King High School and Lincoln University, where he studied biology and philosophy and competed on the men’s basketball team. Throughout the years, the art of poetry has remained a constant presence in Greg’s life. Growing up, Greg listened to rap and hip-hop and fell in love with the power of expression through words. In 1999, after years of freestyling, Greg’s best friend approached him to start a poetry group and devised his performing name, “Just Greg.” Simultaneously, as Greg’s teaching career took off, Greg naturally incorporated his love, as well as his students’ interest of poetry’s special form of communication and learning, into his academic curriculum. Greg also leads Philly Youth Poetry Movement (PYPM), a non-profit organization that provides a safe place for Philadelphia teens to discover the power of their voices through spoken word and literary expression.
In addition to Greg’s other roles of service, Greg and PYPM instructors aid in PYB’s off-court learning in the Middle School Partnership Program during the Saturday sessions at Temple University and George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science. During these sessions, Greg provides the student-athletes with writing prompts and team-building activities; all centered around relevant topics to provide an open environment for free communication for the student-athletes. Most sessions end with student-athlete presentations of their work to assist in social skill development and personal expression. Greg believes, similar to the need to practice a lay-up in basketball, student-athletes need to exercise the art of writing like a muscle.
Like PYPM, Greg is motivated by the potential of holistic youth development through the dynamic curriculum at PYB. Through PYB’s multi-faceted programming, Greg hopes to shift the stigma that basketball players are only players and not thinkers and artists. Greg believes that such strategically incorporated educational and leadership development supports will foster the growth of the student-athletes academically, athletically, and as positive leaders.
Fun Facts About Greg: Greg is a constant learner of all subjects. While Greg studied biology and philosophy in college, Greg’s first major was psychology. In addition, fascinatingly, Greg is able to draw the entire United States by heart.