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Alcorn’s MADE Men program begins youth empowerment outreach campaign

Lorman, Miss. (November 20, 2013) - As an initiative of the Alcorn State University Office of Educational Equity and Inclusion, the MADE (Males Achieving Dreams through Empowerment) Men program has launched a series of initiatives to benefit young people in local communities and enhance the positive image of young men.

During the month of October, program members have been actively training in group facilitation and life skills to develop dynamic educational presentations that can impact young men who are experiencing challenges and need access to successful male role models. At the beginning of November, MADE Men brought these sessions to work with young males in the Adolescent Opportunity Program in Port Gibson, Mississippi, and at Douglass High School in Memphis, Tennessee.

“The response was incredible,” said Dr. Derek Greenfield, director of Educational Equity and Inclusion. “It is clear that these young men truly want to connect and make positive changes in their lives.”

Nicholas Payne, a sophomore electromechanical engineering/mass communications major from Racine, Wisconsin, shared, “Talking to the young men was an inspirational experience for me. I felt that I had a chance to really lead them in the right direction. Listening to their stories also motivated me to keep going further to fulfill my dreams and be a positive example.”

The intent is to bring these presentations to underresourced communities across the state of Mississippi and throughout the region, particularly in locations with active Alcorn alumni chapters. Adrienne J. Allen, president of the Alcorn State University National Alumni Association Memphis Chapter, who helped organize the high school students to participate, said, “The MADE Men were amazing, and we are so proud of them – two of the young men in attendance verbally committed to Alcorn solely as a result of the presentation!”

Also, during that week, 18 of the MADE Men traveled to A. W. Watson Elementary School in Port Gibson, Mississippi, to begin the Real Men Read initiative. Visiting every K-2 classroom, members engaged the children by reading stories and sharing their positive words of encouragement.

“Considering the complete absence of male teachers in those classrooms and quite possibly the lack of positive male figures in many of the students’ lives, having educated and well-dressed college students read to them is unbelievably important. Both the children and the MADE Men didn’t want to leave,” said Dr. Greenfield.

Chris Brown, a senior computer engineering major from Cleveland, Ohio, stated, “It was a great experience, and I loved being a part of it. It opened my eyes to the actual needs of kids in the community and how important it is for us as Alcorn students to be involved in making a difference.” Real Men Read will continue to grow in numbers and impact, with the goal of weekly visits to schools across the area.

For more information about MADE Men, contact Dr. Greenfield at 601.443.7167 or dgreenfield@alcorn.edu .

-ALCORN-

Alcorn State University is a premier comprehensive land-grant university that develops diverse students into globally competitive leaders, and applies scientific research through collaborative partnerships that benefit the surrounding communities, state, nation, and world.