This year I joined the board of an incredible non-profit called the Bay Area Urban Debate League (BAUDL), which establishes competitive debate programs in underprivileged high schools in the Bay Area.

Some of you know that I debated a lot in school and college when I was growing up in Ireland. It was a transformative experience for me. I would not be living in the US and running my own company if it were not for the skills I learned and the people I met through debate. But my story is trivial compared to these kids, some of whom credit debate with rescuing them from gang life, jail, or even death.

Here's a note from the mother of one of many successful BAUDL debaters. This holiday season, she's just grateful that her son is doing something after school that is not likely to get him shot. If you can help us, click the link below to donate. Many thanks.


Yes, the guy in the Holiday Greeting picture is my son Gregory Lewis Belvin III (Greg Lax Belvin), the proverbial boy genius with a few quirks and issues. Debate has turned out to be a great alternate avenue that has gotten my son to focus on his gifts and on the future, and is proving to be the vehicle he will ride out (or at least through) this portion of his life on. I'm very grateful that BAUDL has landed in Oakland and is growing the Bay Area.

I've witnessed the blossoming and blooming of quite a few other young folks within this league. NOBODY IS SHOOTING AT DEBATE TOURNAMENTS! They're reading, dialoguing, and competing to be the best debater in their school, their city, their state, and their country...or at the very least they are choosing to spend their 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays out of the streets and off the couch. I hope you've read all this, because it's my sincere testimony and plea.


Thank you, in advance.

Signed, mother of an awesome young black man accountable and responsible for the future of this world,
Sharay Pinero
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