SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Clubs and organizations can have an impact on young men.
Javeon England has transformed from a timid high school student to the chapter president of a college mentorship program
“We just typically try to do a lot, give back to the community and stuff like that, give opportunities to learn and grow,” England said.
Brother to Brother (B2B) is a branch of a national organization, originally created in the 1980s for African American college students,
“At that time until this day, young men who’ve gone through the program they’re graduating on time 82 percent, where the national numbers are 46% for African American males,” said Francine Pratt, B2B national advisor.
Over the years the focus of the club has evolved from strictly academic, growing into a place where members can form relationships with male role models.
“It’s a unique bond because they literally develop a brotherhood,” Pratt said.
Pratt holds the group close to her heart, after raising her own kids as a single mother, she needed to find that missing piece for her sons.
“I would find organizations that males were involved in or people who knew males that had young kids to make sure that my kids had a good role model,” Pratt said.
The local chapter is made up of members enrolled in five area colleges as well as students still attending Springfield Public Schools.
“It helped me with just growing as a person period, I matured early on because I was around older guys,” England
Through matching members with mentors, young men are able to surround themselves with positive role models they might not otherwise have.
“There’s so much that a man has to carry, or is expected to carry, that they can’t always share,” Pratt said.
Members meet monthly to set goals, celebrate victories and support one another in any way necessary.
“It’s like, oh you’re a true friend, a true brother so that’s how we are here,” England said.
“It just demonstrates that everybody wants to be loved, and everyone wants that connection, and sometimes we don’t see that in men and so it’s nice to see that with these young men,” Pratt said.