AACC_MinMaleRetProgs: Jackson Community College - Men of Merit

Program Name

Jackson Community College - Men of Merit  


Amelia Leighton 

First Name


Last Name


Contact Title

Assistant Director for the Center for Student Success 


Jackson Community College  


2111 Emmons Road 

Address 2












Phone Ext




Program URL


Program Description

Mission Statement: Jackson Community College's Men of Merit is a service and leadership initiative whose mission is to encourage members to stay in college, advance academically, serve their community and become the men they dream to be.
Men of Merit is composed of approximately 30 African American young men. They meet each Thursday, for one hour. Twice each month, a professional African American male provides a presentation for the group. Examples of presentation topics include: networking, dressing for success, academic persistence, interview skills, financial literacy, and overcoming challenges and finding success.
In addition to bi-weekly presentations the students also read pertinent articles and books and engage in discussions about relevant issues facing African American men. They also participate with several service projects in the community such as visiting area schools to mentor youth.

Program Services

Cohort Study Sessions; Service/Community Learning Opportunities; Literary/Book Club 

Program Start Month


Program Start Year


Current Number of Students


Program Initiated

After hearing about a similar program in North Carolina and being aware of the state of crisis of young black men, I wrote letters of invitation to the group meeting, which I titled Men of Merit, and hand delivered them to African American males on our campus.  Nearly two dozen young men attended the first meeting. We met bi-weekly during the first semester and moved to weekly meetings thereafter. The men attend willingly and without the reward of college credit.  The mission of the initiative is to encourage members to stay in college, advance academically, serve their community and become the men they dream to be.

Program Funded

The administration supports this initiative and demonstrates commitments for it's success through resources and financial supports. In addition, Achieving the Dream also contributes to its success.

College President and Administrators Involvement

 The president and administrators are very involved with the Men of Merit.  The president has committed financial support for the Men of Merit and attended functions for the Men of Merit. Two administrators; the multicultural director, and I, facilitate the group. Other administrators have attended luncheons to welcome the young men and show their support, presented to the group on various topics, and have recognized them verbally and in print such as in our college newsletters, magazines and other publications.

Program Success Story

“Men of Merit to me is an allegiance of men who have once  fell down but have gotten up higher than they were. Men of Merit is also a brotherhood of different backgrounds and upbringings. Also Men of Merit, to me, means a second chance at life. I’m a living testimony when I say Men of Merit has made me who I am to this day.
When one of us is struggling we help each other out. I also like the fact that where ever we go around campus people recognize us as Men of Merit. I also like the speakers that we have. The speaker last week, I can’t think of his name, but he was so powerful that he spoke into my life multiple times.
When I first joined Men of Merit I felt like I had no purpose on this earth. The only thing I thought about was how to get money the fast and easy way and that was it, but since I have joined Men of Merit I have learned that I do have a purpose.  Who knows Men of Merit could be the spark the lights up the world.    –JCC Men of Merit: Paul Chatman
Created at 3/8/2010 11:47 AM  by System Account 
Last modified at 3/9/2010 10:36 AM  by KEVIN CHRISTIAN 
Home | Site Map | ©2017  American Association of Community Colleges
 One Dupont Circle, NW | Suite 410 | Washington, DC 20036 | Ph: 202.728.0200 | Fx: 202.833.2467
www.aacc21stcenturycenter.org | www.ccdaily.com | vfa.aacc.nche.edu | www.theseedcenter.org