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Men of Success returns to support minority males

Beaufort County Community College aims to provide opportunity to all residents, but sometimes opportunity alone is not enough. TRiO is a program that specifically works with students who are first-generation college students or experiencing poverty, understanding that they may not have the support and advantages other students have. Now, the TRiO program is hosting a renewed Men of Success program to provide this type of support to minority males. The grant-funded mentoring program seeks to increase the number of African-American males attending and graduating from the college.

“We want to build a campus community,” said Dr. LaTonya Nixon, vice president of student services, “We don’t want these students to feel alone.”

The program will offer nurturing support and mentoring, avenues for civic engagement and cultural trips. The mentors will be a combination of on-campus and community professionals, and business and civic leaders. Since tutoring is already offered through TRiO, Men of Success will focus on complimentary support systems to academics. Mentors will share personal life stories and lessons to help students take an easier route in life.

“Men of Success will adhere to the needs of the student on this campus,” said Nixon. “We need to build up our students here.”

In a previous incarnation, the group worked with students in middle schools.

“Your present situation doesn’t have to be your destiny,” said Jeffrey Egerton, the mentoring coach for Men of Success. “The program will help them see what they can change if they are not doing well in a class.”

“A lot of these students are so singularly focused,” said Nixon. “They are so focused on survival that they might not be looking around to opportunities that are open to them.”

Minority males are less likely to take advantage of opportunities like study abroad, scholarships and special grants. The program will also focus on helping students who are fathers, helping them see the importance of being an active part of their child’s life.

Egerton has a goal for the program’s participants: “Beat my GPA,” he said. “We want our participants to be even more successful than our mentors.” The program will stress confidentiality between mentors and participants.

The group plans to host a regional men’s conference, campus events based on student interests, and a “dress for success” event. Men of Success, in collaboration with TRiO, will take students on campus visits to NC A&T, UNC-Greensboro and N.C. Wesleyan uPniversities, along with other cultural trips like plays.

Students can visit Men of Success in Building 1, Room 111 during office hours Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A kickoff event is scheduled for April 1 from 11 a.m. to noon p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room in Building 10. Students who are interested in participating or community members who are interested in becoming mentors should contact Jeffrey Egerton at jeffrey.egerton@beaufortccc.edu.