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Farmington Hills

July 17, 2013

Mentorship program encourages men to ‘Man Up’

By Sherri Kolade
C & G Staff Writer

FARMINGTON HILLS — DaeLon Williams is quick to share the good word with others from the leather-bound Bible he carries with him throughout the halls of Oakland Community College’s Orchard Ridge Campus.

“This is my weapon that I got to go in the world with,” he said.

As the president of a male mentorship program, Man Up, on the Orchard Ridge Campus, he doles out advice for men in the group, which meets weekly on campus.

“We’ll have a couple conversations, and we talk about God,” the boisterous leader said. “They have questions, and I have answers.”

Finding the answers is what Man Up is all about. The registered student organization is also at the Royal Oak and Southfield campuses, facilitated by advisors including Lloyd Crews, dean of the Southfield campus and one of the program’s creators.

Jahquan Hawkins, student life coordinator at the Orchard Ridge Campus, also advises the group, which is designed to help male students transition into college life more fluidly.

Crews said the group was created about three years ago — initially at the Royal Oak and Southfield campus — as a way to bridge the gap between class time and free time.

“It was a discussion between myself and another colleague, David Matthews … dean of the campus at that time,” Crews said. “Our desire was to really find something for the young men on campus to do. Guys were just hanging out on the steps in the hallways, nothing really active for them to do. We saw that time seemed to be wasted there, and we wanted to fill that time with something constructive.”

Since then, the group has grown, and members can discuss various topics, he said.

“We would facilitate that discussion for them and provide that support that would hopefully create a better connection with the institution, and hopefully help them be more academically successful,” he said.

OCC Orchard Ridge freshman Dante Jones said that because of résumé workshops through the group, he was able to find a work-study job on campus.

“It has been very beneficial,” Jones said.

Freshman Justin Gordon said the program has given him the chance to become more involved with volunteerism activities, and he transfers his knowledge to others.

“That has built my leadership skills and helped me be a liaison between where I am from in my neighborhood, and be able to communicate with … empowered people who are actually doing things. … I think that is where the program helps me out. It works.”

To find out more about Man Up, contact Crews at lccrews@oaklandcc.edu.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Sherri Kolade at skolade@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1046.