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The North Carolina Community College System has awarded Halifax Community College a $30,000 one-year grant to begin a Minority Male Mentoring Program on campus. The Minority Male Mentoring Initiative will provide comprehensive activities, including personal development, drug and substance abuse education, and other innovative activities to improve the academic success of students. The goal is to improve college attendance and graduation rates of minority males.

“I think all of us can agree that there is a need to provide greater emphasis on reaching our minority male students. Since 2003 at HCC, we have witnessed low graduation rates, various enrollment numbers, low retention and high dropout rates among these students. Many community colleges throughout the nation have equally disturbing statistics,” said HCC President, Dr. Ervin V. Griffin Sr.

“Our challenge as a community college is to increase the minority male enrollment figures and to find ways to retain that student population,” said Griffin. “The key may be to heighten self-esteem by making a wide range of well-planned services and activities available and to place students with mentors.”

With this initiative, the goal is to enroll 15 minority males who are currently, or will become, HCC students during the 2007-08 academic school year. Each student will be paired with a mentor who will be an HCC male staff person, instructor or other concerned area male adult.

The focus will be to improve retention and graduation rates, prepare minority males for the workplace by engaging them in workforce preparedness exercises, enroll each participant in a work experience arrangement, involve each in leadership development activities and soft skills training, improve the communication skills and effective manners of self presentation, create an awareness of the necessity of leading a healthy lifestyle, expose students to cultural and religious activities and expose them to books relating to the minority male experience.

The initiative will be folded into and made an integral part of the newly formed Men of Distinction Program at HCC. Weekly meetings will be held and will feature the above topics. As a referral source, the college will also enlist the help of community partners. Students will also broaden their cultural awareness by attending a T.D. Jakes Conference, the Community College Minority Male Conference and the HCC 2007-08 Gospel Theater Series. A book-of-the-month club will also be created and a “Men-to-Men: Am I My Brothers Keeper” Conference will be used as a culminating event.

“I believe that the HCC Minority Male Mentoring Program initiative will aid us in recruiting and retaining minority male students. There are usually many reasons that cause minority males to drop out of college. If our efforts are successful, this project will increase our retention and graduation rates of minority male students at HCC,” Griffin said. “Moreover, through the joint efforts of HCC employees and the community, we will work together with one common goal—empowering the minority male students to become even more viable members of the HCC college community.”