News Release
From the Office of State Senator Royce West - District 23

For Immediate Release
CONTACT:  Kelvin Bass, 214-467-0123
August 19, 2010

SENATOR WEST CALLS ON BLACK GREEK FRATERNITIES TO MENTOR AFRICAN AMERICAN YOUTH

DALLAS — State Senator Royce West is calling to action members of the black Greek community to emphasize the need for mentorship as he brings attention to the growing number of African American children on the waiting list of Big Brothers Big Sisters, including the number of African American boys on the list.

Saturday, Aug. 21, Senator West, a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and a Texas Senator representing District 23 (Dallas County) is formally reaching out to local black Greek fraternities and sororities to address the crises faced by African American students and the low graduation rates of African American males in the state of Texas. Members of the black Greek community will meet with Senator West at the T. Boone Pickens Mentoring Hall of Fame in the Big Brothers Big Sisters headquarters at 450 E. John Carpenter Freeway in Irving, Texas. The event is from 8:30 a.m. until Noon.

"The unique power of our organizations can make significant change happen in the lives of our African American children. We are the leaders in our community and it is our duty to answer the call of our most vulnerable youth," said Senator West. "By uniting and partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters, we have the rare opportunity to make REAL change, the kind of change that will infinitely impact every generation to follow."

Through a partnership with Texas Pan-Hellenic Greek organizations across Texas, Senator West is spearheading a new statewide initiative to create a mentorship pipeline for African American students. The initiative will target students from 3rd grade through the completion of their sophomore year of college.

The pilot program is scheduled to begin in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex in Fall 2010 and will bring together representatives from the Big Brothers Big Sisters with numerous other service-based organizations. Big Brothers Big Sisters will work with members of the areas' Pan-Hellenic Greek Council's "Divine Nine" who are currently enrolled in an institution of higher education or are members of a Greek-letter alumni chapter. Their charge will be to serve as mentors, or "Goal Models," to students attending public school or who are currently enrolled in their freshman or sophomore year of college.

Senator West has asked the Texas Education Agency (TEA), Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and Region 10 Education Service Center to explore ways the agencies may reasonably be able to support the goals and objectives of this mentoring initiative.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a donor-supported volunteer organization that places caring adults in the lives of children in one-to-one mentoring relationships. Through the positive impact of those friendships, children with a Big Brother or Big Sister are more likely to graduate from high school and are less likely to begin using drugs, begin using alcohol or engage in negative conflict. For more information, contact 888.887.BIGS or www.bbbstx.org.

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