Brother-to-Brother

Indianapolis, IN (May 2006) -- The Brother-to-Brother mentoring program wrapped up its first semester at North Wayne Elementary School with a special banquet to honor participating students and their mentors, members of IUPUI’s Student African-American Brotherhood (SAAB).

During the banquet a PowerPoint presentation was shown highlighting the semester. The presentation was accompanied by the song “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers. “There are times in life we all need to lean on someone,” Terry Thompson, superintendent of MSD of Wayne Township, said. “It’s not going to be long until these children say ‘I’m someone to lean on’.”

After the banquet, students showed their own PowerPoint presentations to their parents and mentors, which had been created with the help of the SAAB members. The presentations focused on their individual successes during the Brother-to-Brother program and their future goals.

Throughout the semester, the mentors were often frustrated, feeling as if they were not making an impact. They were assured by North Wayne Elementary Principal Scott Deetz that their presence did matter in the students’ lives. The teachers and administration saw an increase in the boys’ enthusiasm in the classroom and eagerness in completing tasks and homework. “It’s the best experience, educating someone else,” said mentor Tolri Patterson, a junior at IUPUI. “It’s really a joy to lend a helping hand and give back.”

Brother-to-Brother is designed to help young boys from becoming “emotional dropouts” in the classroom. It paired up members of IUPUI’s SAAB with boys ranging from second to fourth grade. These students showed academic potential but needed extra support and motivation. Each Thursday from January through April, the SAAB members mentored the students in academics and technology, and also spent recreational time with them. The mentors gave the boys a guided tour of IUPUI, taking them to the Herron Art School, the University Greenhouse, and the NCAA Hall of Fame before having dinner at University Place.

The program was developed by Cheryl Seabrook, a teacher at North Wayne Elementary school, in partnership with her husband, Philip Seabrook, an Assistant Dean of IUPUI’s University College.

Prepared by Josh Flynn, IUPUI Student
IUPUI University College
Office of Development, Operations, and Employee Relations
May 5, 200
317.274.5036