Gary Gomer: “Professor Bread”
Published in Inside - Volume VI, No. 5
Would you believe it? Instead of taking a traditional route, Gary Gomer, a Ph.D. in Philosophy in Education, has turned his skills into a unique program, "Let's Bake Bread Together," that reaches students and parents in five New York City school districts.
After completing his doctorate in 1991, Gomer worked as a supervisor in a child and mental health clinic in the Bronx, the Fordham/Tremont Mental Health Clinic Center. By 1996, he became a supervisor of a small social agency that had programs in the schools called Partnership with Children. It was then, Gomer said, "I had the opportunity to finally experiment with the bread-making idea."
"The kids were fascinated by what they were learning. There was something very special about sharing the bread at the end of the day. I did a number of workshops with parents which also had a very nice feeling. There was also something positive and benign for the entire school," said Gomer.
"That gave me the idea," said Gomer, "that this might be something I could take on the road, but at the same time strengthen the program." By this time, he had done more than 100 workshops in 30 schools covering five school districts. He's worked both in classes where the students have been identified as being at risk and in an equal number of mainstream classes from grades pre-K through grade seven.
"I was out in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn at a number of schools when the dynamic principal of P.S. 184, Jeannette Reed, appreciated the program and coined my new title, "Professor Bread," said Gomer.
When asked why he chose to develop this program, he responded, "there's something very basic about bread. We all take it for granted. On one level, it's justifiable for kids to understand how this food that they probably all eat is made. There's merit in demystifying the baking of bread. But it goes much deeper than that. Bread is basic to Western civilization. There are many different themes you could pick to do with food-whether art, religion, or technology."
"And let's not forget," Gomer added, "bread-making helps build community by providing an opportunity to work together and break bread together. This is an activity that can accommodate students from every grade, everyone in the school community, including parents, teachers, and administrators."
For more information on "Let's Bake Bread Together," e-mail Dr. Gomer at firstname.lastname@example.org page