Piedmont Community College’s mentoring program event makes connections and provides life lessons for students

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by Elizabeth Townsend

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The Minority Male Mentoring (3M) program at Piedmont Community College (PCC) has been focused on providing a nurturing environment where the student feels connected to the college, empowered and motivated to succeed, and supported by services that meet students’ needs.
Dr. Joseph Seabrooks, Jr.
Vice President of Instruction and Student Development, Dr. Joyce Johnson, was interested in taking the group a step further. A dinner was held where students and community mentors met and began building relationships.

“With a special intentional focus on the success of African American and other minority males, the North Carolina Community College System’s Minority Male Mentoring program is designed to close the achievement gap between minority males and other students by providing a wide range of student and academic support programs and opportunities,” comment Johnson.

“However, what is missing from this great program is an initiative that is more holistic in its approach. The key, according to many scholars writing on the subject, is a comprehensive mentoring program. Many people have concluded that the tragic plight of African-American males in regard to low academic performance, high school graduation, and college enrollment together with the increased numbers of juvenile detainees and prison incarceration requires a strategic response,” she continued. “African American males mentoring other African American males is one of the critical strategies that is required. It may be the most important strategy in ensuring the successful development and maturation of African American males into a generation of men who will be, among other things, leaders of their community. This is the primary purpose of the Mentored Leadership Program Dinner—to bring the mentor and mentee together to begin a relationship that will, hopefully, have a positive impact on the life of the mentee.”

During the dinner, Cristian McLaughlin, president of PCC’s Student Government Association, introduced the students involved in the program. “The Student Government Association is proud to help sponsor the men of success mentor leadership dinner tonight. The goal of this programs is to increase minority male retention and graduation rates at North Carolina Community Colleges and to support their academic and professional aspirations. The program seeks to accomplish this goals through mentoring, educational opportunities, professionalism, and networking,” said McLaughlin. Thirteen community mentors were invited to help make these goals come to fruition.
Jimmy Thorpe
Guests also heard from Dr. Joseph Seabrooks, Jr., a nationally renowned motivational speaker who serves as President of Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley, in Kansas City, Missouri. While sharing his story, Seabrooks told the students that they will fail. “You will fail in life… it will happen. Sometimes failures are blessing. It’s the fear of failure that causes people to not try and not trying guarantees failure. The difference between extraordinary and ordinary people is how you handle failure.”

Seabrooks also gave three challenges to the students. “If you do these three things you will be successful. 1) Clarify and commit to your values. Be honest with yourself about what your value are. 2) Identify your purpose it life. Your purpose should be broad; it should be bigger than you. Your purpose should be with you until the day you die. 3) Create a backup plan for your backup plan for graduating college. You need to feel about graduating college like you feel about living tomorrow. It needs to be urgent. It needs to be something you desire as much as life itself.”

Jimmy Thorpe, Personian and professional golfer was also in attendance. . He spoke about perseverance and how working hard will make you successful. “Have perseverance and be willing to work hard. I came from Roxboro and have played golf all over the world. If you choose to work at it and believe in yourself, you can make it happen. Just remember, there is no substitution for hard work.”

The 3M program continues to grow with the support of community mentors. If you are interested in volunteering for or participating in this program, please contact Michael Farmer, Director, Minority Male Mentoring program at (336) 322-2159 or Michael.Farmer@piedmontcc.edu.

Photo: (Top right) Dr. Joseph Seabrooks, Jr. and (bottom left) Jimmy Thorpe