The students of Sam Houston State University are instilled with a love and dedication for serving the community through the many organizations they have the opportunity to participate in during their college years.
Last Saturday, the Theta Mu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Kappa Psi and the African Student Association came together to host a special back-to-school bash to celebrate the start of the fall semester, as well as to gather school supplies to benefit Mance Park Middle School.
Altogether, students donated more than 1,100 various school supplies, which were then dropped off Monday afternoon at Mance Park by Alpha Phi Alpha members.
“Huntsville, I see these kids and some of them are struggling and some of them could use some extra help,” Alpha Phi Alpha president Willie Kinch III said. “I know they start school earlier than we do, but I talked with (MPMS teacher) Jasmine Davis, who helped us set up our mentor program, and she encouraged us to donate as soon as we can because it’s gonna help regardless.”
The school supplies will go toward aiding students participating in the mentor program “Mentoring and Cultivating Excellence” that partners with fellow SHSU student organization Royalty, as well as the greater MPMS student population.
The mentor program was implemented during the spring 2018 semester with the help of Royalty members, and Davis, who teaches history at Mance Park.
Kinch explained that the program aims to provide a strong male presence to the male youth in the Huntsville community to help them develop into strong, successful men by teaching leadership, responsibility and the importance of education.
“Someone once said, ‘Be the person you always needed as a kid,’ and I felt that and that’s important. It’s important to give back,” Kinch said. “I was raised in Houston and there were some things I needed growing up that would’ve helped me as a kid. There are small things that can help and there are things we can do that can go a long way.”
In its second semester, the mentor program had approximately 50 students sign up during Mance Park’s orientation prior to the first day of school. The program conducts weekly group and one-on-one activities between students and mentors in order to help build strong leadership and help the students be successful in and out of the classroom.
In addition, Kinch explains that the program is also a way to provide students an outlet to speak about anything that they may be going through, as well as a way for Alpha Phi Alpha members to give back to the community and make an impact.
“I know people see those test scores, and this is the prime time to make a difference in these kids’ life,” Kinch said. “Being in Huntsville, and a part of this fraternal organization, we can make a difference.”
The program is still in its infant stages, but Kinch is hopeful that it will grow in the coming years and expand to other Huntsville ISD campuses and surrounding school districts.
Those interested in learning more about the M.A.C.E program, or wanting to donate, can reach out to the members of the Theta Mu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., by visiting the organization’s Twitter page @thetamualphas and messaging the organization.