Part of the mission at East Georgia State College (EGSC) is educating, graduating, and serving communities. The African American Male Initiative (AAMI) program mirrors that goal. Completing college offers a stronger path to career opportunities, personal growth, and even financial security. AAMI students enhance their ability to grow and triumph while at EGSC. The commitment to the program teaches students to DRIVE through college instead of walking. The African American Male Initiative (AAMI) expectations are clear: Dedication, Respect, Inspiration, Vigilance, and Excellence! Therefore, they are required to DRIVE.
The students are empowered by mentors and are encouraged to maintain a strong brotherhood while navigating through some of the obstacles they may face while in college. A new program was implemented Fall 2020 called Men of Courage Series, where students in AAMI attended zoom meetings with prominent and professional African American males in the community. The Men of Courage Series has been instrumental in the DRIVERS allowing them to hear and learn from the presenters who shared their stories of success and issues they had to overcome to obtain the courage to succeed.
“With the struggle that African American males are experiencing, I want to instill some positivity and encouragement in them while they are pursuing their education. What other way to do this then by allowing successful African American males to empower our students to persevere while in college and to validate their decision to complete college,” said Dr. Kittrell-Mikell who serves as an AAMI Coordinator on the Swainsboro campus. “In addition, students who are in the program are required to complete community service, and this year they hosted recruitment fairs at Swainsboro High School. Who better to recruit students to come to East Georgia, than our current students?”
In Fall 2020 guest speakers included, Dr. Georj Lewis, President of Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Dr. TaJuan, Associate Vice President of Inclusion & Chief Diversity at Georgia Southern University, Dr. Francys Johnson, Attorney of Law in Statesboro, Mr. Marty Holder, Assistant Principal at Statesboro High, Mr. Kevin Holder, Executive Director in Atlanta, Mr. Jonathan McCollar, Mayor of Statesboro, Mr. Hardie Davis, Mayor of Augusta, and Mr. Van Johnson, Mayor of Savannah, Georgia.
In Spring 2021 guest speakers were, Dr. Jermaine Whirl, President of Augusta Technical College, Dr. Anthony Howard, Internal Medicine in Swainsboro, Mr. Spencer R. Moore, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Drivers Services, Mr. Kevin Thigpen, City of Atlanta Police Department, and Captain Kenny Thompson, Bulloch County Sherriff Department. Another Spring activity that the students participated in virtually was Georgia Southern University’s Black Man Empowerment Summit which covered topics such as “When They See Us: Black Men Navigating White Spaces” facilitated by Mr. Paris Lawrence, “Black Boys Don’t Cry…Or Do They?” facilitated by Mr. Nehemiah McClendon, and “I am Who I am, but Who Am I?” facilitated by Dr. Christopher Pugh. Yet, one of the most highly favored meetings was Barbershop Talk. This program encouraged African American males (from all three EGSC campuses) to engage in intellectual conversations and topics that affect them. Topics such as black male identity in America, education, history, politics, and sports as it pertains to an African American male.
AAMI students have shown a great appreciation for the program at EGSC. Upon graduating from EGSC, AAMI DRIVERs leave with at least one of the following attributes: stronger leadership skills, academically energized and gratefulness for their AAMI experience. It has been ascertained that African American males perform better in college when they feel welcomed and embraced by the community. Continued support from Dr. Sandra Sharman, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs; Mrs. Karen Jones, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs; Mr. Antre’ Drummer, Director of AAMI, Dr. Damon Andrews, AAMI Coordinator (Statesboro) and Mr. Nick Kelch, AAMI Coordinator (Augusta) helps strengthen the commitment to help student retention and completion.
Information from East Georgia State College.