The African American Male Initiative has been awarded a $14,643 grant to fund the program for fiscal year 2021. This is the third consecutive year the organization received the award through the competitive funding cycle.
An institutional dollar-for-dollar match will provide funds needed to aid the program in supporting Black males throughout their academic careers at Augusta University.
The AAMI was formed by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents to increase the number of Black males completing their postsecondary education within the institution. The USG has charged each AAMI campus program with creating a program that focuses on academic excellence.
Mentorship is one of the four pillars of the program. Students are connected with adults and peers who encourage achievement and foster a sense of belonging. The pillars also include academic skills enrichment through tutoring and pre-college activities to help students transition to college academic life; student support services, which provides internal and external resources to enhance academic and social success; and leadership development through classes and forums to strengthen leadership skills.
This year, the AAMI is also partnering with Health Center Credit Union to encourage financial literacy. AAMI has partnered and will continue to partner with Student Counseling and Psychological Services to reduce stigma about mental health and counseling and increase access to mental health resources to African American students.
“We also focus on making sure we address holistic wellness so students can have tools to be resilient,” said program director Jerry Oliver Jr.
The program promotes education across several dimensions of wellness: nutrition; physical activity; sleep; avoidance of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; medication safety; and preventive medicine. These wellness dimensions also increase students’ resilience.
Faculty and staff mentors are still needed. Mentors must commit to meeting with their mentee at least once a month from September to May. Oliver said as grant funding is solely provided to support personnel this year, the AAMI at AU is also seeking support through its foundation to pay for incentives and to additional programming.