Brother 2 Brother organization growing rapidly

There are countless groups that give something back to their community while at the same time giving back to the members. One of these is GHC’s chapter of Brother 2 Brother.

Brother 2 Brother or B2B, as it is referred to by its members, is an organization that helps young African American and Latino males recognize and reach their goals, while at the same time reaching out to the community.

Kirk Nooks, an adviser for Brother 2 Brother and Marietta site director, said, “While it would not do the organization justice to merely describe it as a ‘support’ group, one of its functions is to offer guidance and help its members to remain academically engaged.”

As of now, the group has 91 members and hopes to soon break triple digits. The largest increase in student membership has been at the Marietta site.

Jon Hershey, humanities division chair and director of GHC’s B2B program, said, “When we started at Marietta in fall 2009, we had two members. For several weeks I or Dr. Nooks would meet with just the two members. So, to go from two to 33 is pretty good.”

Brother 2 Brother members meet at the Marietta site. Photo by PK Choi.

B2B belongs to a larger group known as SAAB, which stands for Student African American Brotherhood. This organization has over 200 chapters nationwide and has independently increased the rate of college graduates among its members.

The events that the group participates in are just as diverse as their membership. In the past, they have volunteered at Marietta Middle School to help with an engineering project. Along with members of The 100 Black Men of Rome and Northwest Georgia, the community partner of GHC’s B2B, students handed out frozen Thanksgiving turkeys donated by comedian Steve Harvey to underprivileged residents in their area. They have also attended plays at the True Colors Theater in Atlanta.

Brother 2 Brother recently participated in a national conference in Indiana and the statewide African American Male Initiative (AAMI) conference in Macon.

The AAMI conference, held April 15-16, included a session highlighting GHC’s Brother 2 Brother program with presentations by Hershey, Greg Shropshire of The 100 Black Men and students active in B2B. According to Hershey, GHC’s Brother 2 Brother chapter was being featured because of its successful multi-campus model and its success and retention rates. These conferences serve the purpose of helping all chapters of the group meet and discuss group policy as well as plan events for following years.

The year’s events and community participation will culminate in an end-of-the-year banquet on Sunday, May 1, at the Cartersville Civic Center. Hershey said that the banquet is “an opportunity for the members of Brother 2 Brother to show appreciation to those who have encouraged them.” This banquet serves as a time and place for outstanding members to be recognized for their achievements, as well as for other members to meet and network.

Anyone interested in joining B2B or who just wants more information can contact Hershey at jhershey@highlands.edu or Marietta adviser Nooks at knooks@highlands.edu. Information on SAAB is available at SAABNational.org.