When President Barack Obama launched the "My Brother's Keeper" initiative in February 2014, administrators, faculty, and staff on Wiley's campus were pleased to see the work they do each day get a formal name and program. Through the initiative, President Obama called for the nation to form "MBK communities" to help build ladders of opportunities to motivate young men to envision bright futures for themselves and to put in the work to make those dreams reality.
"Ask any student on this campus why they attend Wiley College and they will say they receive personalized attention and support here that's hard to find on many campuses," said Dr. Joseph L. Morale, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services at Wiley. "Our faculty believe they aren't teaching unless the students are learning," he said. "And to learn, students must be present, engaged, focused, and motivated."
Through its offering of supportive and co-curricular programming including the Student Success Academy, Student Support Services, Center for Excellence in Student Leadership, and spiritual life activities such as weekly chapel services, Wiley College demonstrates its determination to help its students cross the "begin" line by completing College and earning their degrees.
Wiley's Student Success Academy expanded its programming on September 12 by launching its own "My Brother's Keeper" program to help students succeed.
"Our MBK program is aimed at helping young men of color become successful and overcome odds that are often stacked against them," said Donza Stanley, Manager of the Sophomore Year Experience program, which is a component of the Student Success Academy.
About 60 young men gathered for the program launch in the Wiley Pemberton Complex and took part in a full day of activities, including sessions on character development, dressing for success, money management, spiritual health, and healthy dating practices.
"Through our program launch activities, our speakers challenged the students to stay on track and to stay in College so that they can have more opportunities later on life," said Roland Siglar, an academic advisor in the Student Success Academy.
Guest speakers for the program included Bishop L. Lawrence Brandon of Praise Temple of Shreveport and the Rev. George Cauthen of Sunflower Missionary Baptist Church in Bossier City, Louisiana. Faculty and staff speakers included Dr. Tracy Andrus Sr., Mr. Charles H. Cornish III, Mr. Carlton Davis, Mr. Hasim Jones, and Mr. Rodney McConnell.
"We talked to the young men about working hard and playing by the rules," said Bishop Brandon. "Succeeding in life is what the My Brother's Keeper program is all about."
Graduating senior Jahrel Sparks called the opening program a success. "Through its launching of My Brother's Keeper, Wiley's Sophomore Year Experience staff, led by Ms. Stanley, has added to its arsenal of tools to shatter the glass wall designed to repel young men from a life of wholistic success."