CCAC’s Men of Merit Initiative is preparing men for lives of educational and personal success
PITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County’s Men of Merit Initiative (MMI) is making a dramatic difference in the educational and life experiences of its members. Now in its second year, MMI is a student program that focuses on increasing the retention, engagement and academic success of male students of color. The program is open to all students and is comprised of meetings and activities whereby mentors offer support and endow students with critical insight into how to persevere, overcome barriers and achieve academic and life success as African-American males in the 21st century. A campaign is underway to recruit additional students to the program, which also provides various educational resources to participants.
Each CCAC campus and center in Allegheny County houses an MMI group that holds regular meetings, with several college-wide events and activities throughout the year. The most recent event was the MMI Spring Summit titled “Finding Your Purpose…Honing Your Skills,” which was held at CCAC North Campus on April 5. The summit featured several speakers who spoke on topics that included self-worth, self-discovery and the determination to achieve one’s dreams, followed by an engaging discussion with the students.
MMI is also focused on outreach and service to the community. This spring, MMI students will participate in volunteer opportunities to assist Homewood Children’s Village, a nonprofit for the betterment and advancement of neighborhood children.
“We want to provide young men with opportunities not only to better themselves but to give back to their communities,” said Malik Vincent, co-lead of MMI at Allegheny Campus. On April 27–28, select MMI leads will travel with six MMI students to Clemson University in Greenville, South Carolina, for the National Men of Color Summit, the mission of which is to close the achievement gap of African-American and Hispanic males. Vincent is hoping the summit fosters scholarly conversations and that the students return with a new or enhanced understanding of how to be leaders in their families, campus communities and neighborhoods.
MMI at Allegheny Campus has “grown by leaps and bounds,” according to Vincent, but there is room for many more students in the MMI groups at all campuses and centers. For more information or to sign up, visit CCAC’s Men of Merit Initiative at ccac.edu/mmi.aspx and contact the appropriate campus lead, or call the CCAC Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at 412.237.4430.