AIM HIGH! Monroe College Hosts 6th Annual Male Empowerment Seminar


Monroe College_Aim High EI-04232015300 high school students Stand…. for epic impact!

Inspired by keynotes from renowned author, educator, and TV commentator Dr. Steve Perry and special guest WCBS-TV news anchor Maurice Dubois, as well as remarks from achieving orange necktie-wearing freshmen from the Monroe College Empowerment Institute (EI), more than three-hundred high school boys left the college’s sixth annual male empowerment seminar with a renewed sense of resolve and purpose.


Thursday’s event in the Mintz Auditorium on the Monroe College campus, dubbed Stand… for Epic Impact!, included teen boys from ten Bronx high schools: Bronx Latin, Alfred E. Smith HS, Wings Academy, Mott Hall NYC, New Visions Charter HS for the Humanities, Truman HS, Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports, Academy for Language and Technology, HS for Media Communications, and Mott Hall BX.


President Stephen JeromePresident Stephen Jerome addressed the morning VIP breakfast for Dr. Steve Perry, the adult mentors and the two dozen or so freshmen members of the Monroe College EI. He talked that the self-doubt that he experienced as college sophomore that a mentor helped him to overcome.


President Jerome said that the college created the Empowerment Institute in response to data showing that male students who did not do well and dropped out. “Forty-seven out of fifty males in the initial cohort are still here after two semesters have ended and are doing well.”


During the four-plus hour seminar, the young men had the opportunity to speak with mentors from the worlds of business, education, criminal justice, and more about what it takes to be successful.


Sherman Brown_ Monroe AHEISherman Brown, a Monroe College alumnus and  the chief empowerment officer said that the Monroe EI students mentor high school students in order dismantle the the “school-to-prison” pipeline and build a “school-to-prominence” model. His call and response motivational style got the event off to a rollicking start.


Dr Steve Perry_AEHI-2They also heard Dr. Perry talk about seizing opportunities and realizing potential.  “I came here today because I believe in you,” he said.  “There’s something beautiful and capable within you.  But we can believe it all we want, but you have to have the courage to show it.”

Afterwards, Dr. Perry said that “our young men don’t always know that they are already good, they don’t have to wait to become good; they’re working to become great. But they’re very, very good. We need to let them know that ‘you’re  going to be alright, son.’ Just do it. Do what someone is telling you to do.


Maurice DuBois, WCBS-TV

Maurice DuBois, WCBS-TV

After talking about how his parents sacrificed so their children could achieve in life and how he once worked flipping burgers in a fast food joint, Mr. Dubois told the young men, “When people are complimentary to me and say what I do looks natural, you guys know it isn’t natural,” he said.  “It’s not natural.  Whatever it is, you’ve got to work at it and perfect it and keep honing it and honing it.  Whether building bridges, making speeches, or doing artwork, you have to work at it every single day.  There’s no time to sit back.”


EI PinAt the end of the speeches, the mentors pinned custom-designed EI pins on the teenagers, along with a pledge to develop ‘competence, confidence’ and character.’



“The statistics show alarming dropout rates of young men of color,” said Dr. Cecil Wright, who founded Male Empowerment at Monroe, “and the best way we know to combat those is through mentorship and role modeling.  I have no doubt that when the event ended today, many of these high school boys will be motivated to attend college and lead productive lives. “



Mentor Eliezer Rodriguez pins one of his 'Aim High' mentees.

Mentor Eliezer Rodriguez pins one of his ‘Aim High’ mentees.

Eleazer Rodriguez_AHEI_mentees






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