Wednesday, May 28, 2014

M.E.N. group awarded chapter of the year

Members of the CGCC MEN chapter receive their award
as chapter of the year.
The Chandler-Gilbert Community College chapter of the Male Empowerment Network (MEN) was awarded chapter of the year by the Maricopa County Community College District on May 2.

The group was started two years ago by former staff members Cesar Becerra and Jesus Chaidez Hernandez after visiting Estrella Mountain Community College’s program and seeing the impact it was having on male minority students there.

Though the chapter started off slow, it picked up significant momentum in 2013-2014 with Martine Garcia ’14 as president and Tony Little, manager of college cashier services, as campus co-advisor along with Jill Wendt, faculty in Social and Behavioral Sciences.

“Although we planted the seed, Martine and Tony opened a door,” said Becerra, coordinator of recruitment programs at Mesa Community College. “They and the other members really took the chapter to the next level and made it a family where the guys could hang out and get involved in other campus activities and give each other support when they tripped up. That support often makes a difference whether they complete their studies or not.”

The mission of MEN has three primary goals:
  • Increase the access, persistence, and graduation rate of minority male students
  • Connect minority male students with academic and professional support resources/services
  • Create a culture of success and empowerment among minority male students. 
“The honor of being chosen as chapter of the year is beyond words,” said Little. “It validates the transformation that I am privileged to witness as the members become involved and committed to not only their own growth but to each other. MEN has helped them become better leaders and individuals, challenging them to focus on their grades, their community and their future success.”

For Garcia, the recognition is bittersweet.

“It has been a complete honor to serve as the president of such an amazing group of young, talented, ambitious, and educated men and women,” said Garcia. “I remember a group who didn't know anyone and were unsure of how to handle life and college. Now I see a family, who would do anything to make sure that their fellow brother or sister succeeds. It has just been a humbling experience.”

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