Being a change agent with Ken Nwadike of Free Hugs Project and Joel Gunzburg, a counselor at Sandy Spring Friends School

By Jen Cort

Jen Cort is an education consultant in the areas of equity, inclusion, diversity and justice. In this podcast, Jen opens up a "third space"— a place outside our familiar home and work environments — in order that we might begin to engage in some of the provocative questions that need to be addressed. Listen in as Jen speaks with some of the leading thinkers and doers in the field.

Ken E. Nwadike, Jr., is a peace activist, motivational speaker, and video journalist known as the Free Hugs Guy online. Nwadike Jr is the founder of the Free Hugs Project, which produces motivational videos to spread love, inspire change, and raise awareness of social issues. His ‘Free Hugs’ videos have reached hundreds of millions of views on Facebook and YouTube.

In 2014, Nwadike launched the Free Hugs Project to spread love in response to the bombing of the Boston Marathon. The Free Hugs Project gained popularity in 2016, as Nwadike made major news headlines for his peace-keeping efforts and de-escalating violence during protests, riots, and political rallies. Nwadike was featured in Google’s 2016 Year in Search video as a highlight of some of the year’s most defining moments. Nwadike has made many appearances on news programs and radio broadcasts worldwide, including CNN, USA Today, Good Morning Britain, and BBC News. Ken has spoken at hundreds of Colleges and Universities and is a favorite at high-schools and corporations. Ken was the 2017 featured keynote speaker at NACA National convention, and was also chosen to speak at the 2018 National convention and several regional NACA events.


Ken’s Contact:


Facebook: @FreeHugsProject


Joel Gunzburg is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who is currently the Lower School Counselor at Sandy Spring Friends School. He has been working as a counselor in public and independent schools for nearly 20 years. Joel has spent the better part of his career designing, implementing, and teaching social-emotional learning classes for Pre-K through 12th-grade students. He is currently teaching these SEL classes to Pre-K through 5th-grade students at Sandy Spring Friends School once a week in a class called Shine.

Joel also has a group private practice in Bethesda, MD, where he and his team provide a variety of services for children, adolescents, young adults, and families to reach optimal quality of life.