Robert's Story: The Breakfast Club

Robert & Mike at Corner Bloc Coffee catching up

It’s a cool March morning while Robert and I wait for an old friend of his to arrive.  We’ve set up a coffee date to try to finally get the two of them together.  Mike walks in, wearing a sweater and flip-flops, the typical Cincinnati uniform when the weather starts to turn a bit warmer.  He immediately hugs Robert, and plops down on the couch at Corner Bloc Coffee.  “I met Robert when he was working at Moeller High School over a decade ago.  We became fast friends.”  Mike says.  This coffee date was planned to have a conversation about how to prioritize their friendship in each others’ lives.  Out of the discussion, the idea of the “Breakfast Club” was born.  From the outside looking in, you would not know that Mike and Robert haven’t seen each other in a few months, a busy work schedule and a lack of reliable transportation always getting in the way, respectively.

The Breakfast Club (which launched in April) is an every-other-month speaker series where Cincinnatians are invited to share personal stories about whatever they are passionate about.  Citizens are invited to attend, ask question, talk candidly and start their Monday morning off without agendas or emails.  The idea is that people can be casual, grab a coffee and breakfast, and listen to someone talk about what’s important to them.

Mike explains why he was on board to start the Breakfast Club with Robert: “I feel as if Breakfast Club is an amazing way for Robert to connect with his community – but also an amazing way for everyone who attends to connect with one another. Robert is a catalyst for relationship-building. Always has been, always will be.”

Vice Mayor David Mann & Robert at the first Breakfast Club

In April, Mike and Robert hosted the first gathering and the first guest was Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Mann.  A crowd of about 12 or so people arrived, coffee and muffin in hand.  The Vice Mayor talked about his fifty years of marriage with his wife, his children and “God tapping him on the shoulder” when it came to same-sex couples’ rights, and why he’s stayed in public service for so long. “Politics is the art of what’s possible” he says, smiling.

“I like hanging out with Mike because he makes me proud to have a friend like him” Robert says after the first breakfast club has ended and the date has been set for June’s gathering.

Friendship, we know, is also the art of what’s possible.
Join the next Breakfast Club on Monday, June 29th.  Free tickets available here.

The Breakfast Club

Candice Jones Peelman