The holiday season is known for bringing people together. For some, it is about baking cookies with grandma or decorating trees with friends. For Greg Ahlijian, it’s about being a beam of light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

This is what one 11-year-old told Greg after finishing his book “The Large Rock & The Little Yew”: “Life chooses you, you can’t decide what happens, but you can make it the best you can. There is no reason to give up. This book taught me valuable lessons.”

Greg Ahlijian, a retired arborist, attended a Christmas party at Jasper Mountain Center in 2007. Jasper Mountain is an internationally known, nationally accredited nonprofit treatment facility that serves emotionally disturbed and abused children from throughout the United States.

“(The children) were well-groomed, well-mannered, well-dressed, yet they were at this facility for a very serious reason,” Greg told Shelley Kurtz in a former interview with KVAL news. “I left that Christmas party with a knot in my stomach and I needed to be involved with the children.”

After leaving the party, Greg was determined to help these children. Greg started volunteering at Jasper Mountain Center in Springfield, Oregon in March 2008. Inspired by the children there, Greg self-published “The Large Rock & The Little Yew,” a story of courage, perseverance, self-respect and hope. In the book, a little Yew seed attempts to grow while wedged in the crack of a large rock. Against all odds, the seed overcomes the challenges of life and grows into a beautiful Yew tree.

Since publishing, Greg has sold more than $50,000 worth of books and has donated every penny to Jasper Mountain. His dedication and love for the children has even led him to volunteer as a part-time instructor teaching about nature and trees, poetry and character development.

Here at Allen Hall Public Relations, we are excited to spread Greg’s story and gain media attention for his cause. We are working to produce media relations and social media campaigns. Through media attention, we hope to create publisher interest for “The Large Rock and the Little Yew” to increase donations benefiting Jasper Mountain.

Sean Reynolds is currently a senior at the University of Oregon studying public relations. His passion for technology and social media has given him a foundation for creative exploration.

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