Small Seeds Development’s Mother to Son (ROP) Penn State trip – “Who said single parent boys can’t excel?”

Overnight Field Trip to the Pennsylvania State University
April 27- 28, 2013

Behind every statistic is a story and when it comes to young, African American boys, the numbers are staggering and the reality is sobering.  Black boys across the board score below their counterparts in other racial and ethnic groups when it comes to graduation rates, literacy rates and college preparedness.  And many African American men, in turn, are locked out of employment and are filling up the nation’s prisons in disproportionate numbers.  The Mother to Son Program at Small Seeds Development Inc. emphasizes a connection between early learning and the dropout rate.  Sometimes data does not tell the whole story, however we must step up and engage Black boys to produce different academic and social outcomes.  Many boys come to the MTSP because they do not want to be “turned off” toward education or get caught up in something they will regret later.

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Instead they are being educated and affirmed by responsible men and not the mean streets where instinct and gall can be a way to make money without having to adhere to societal mores.  Unfortunately some of our brightest boys are dropping out to pursue a career in rhyme or crime.  Many don’t have much hope for a future otherwise.  And any type of support for those who do graduate from high school should not end there – whether a young man is able to attend college or not.  On April 27-28, 2013 the MTSP traveled to Penn State University with thirteen of their boys who are demonstrating academic achievement (above a 3.2 GPA), strong character and leadership skills.  The experience exposed them to a different environment and members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. who provided a ground breaking tour, workshops and a up front conversation about the importance of education, leadership and personal development.

The students that engaged them were juniors and seniors in the colleges of electrical engineering, business, information technology and animal science.  This was not a social field trip but one that introduced boys ages 12-15 to older young men from four different cities who are excelling and come from similar backgrounds.  It was a beautiful day on Saturday and several people inquired about who we were.  One gentleman who graduated from Penn State in 1967 from the School of Engineering and was attending an alumni event said he was impressed with the boys’ poise and communication skills. MTSP boys are not allowed to make excuses even if they are facing difficult barriers.  Each MTSP journey and session is designed to build a supportive environment and foster positive outcomes.  We come against any noted disparities in teacher expectations, counselor engagement, parental involvement and other forms of support, which can profoundly shape their attainment.  Who said single parent boys can’t excel?

Find out more about the Mother 2 Son Program by visiting
204 N. Highland Avenue | Pittsburgh, PA  15206 | (412) 665-2810 (office)

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