Only 11.7% of African American male students graduate within a four-year period from the University of Memphis. This number has increased every year, but continued improvement in retention rates is vital to student success.
The Hooks African American Male Initiative (HAAMI) is working to improve retention rates and we want to help! Memphis Suit Project recently partnered with HAAMI to suit 11 of their students as part of their career development program.
"...In order to take care of the community I must take proper care of myself." -Recipient Kyle S. Bledsoe
"Having a suit gives men a feeling like no other....Young men want to be heard and suit allows people to listen." - Recipient Lloyd Goodman
"My professional development, the sharing of my gifts and redefining what it means to be successful in my black community are all ultimately my visions that can all sprout from just one suit." - Recipient Justin H. Childress
"For me, this is not just a new suit- but my only suit- because I recently moved to the United States and did not have many clothes to bring with me. Growing up in my country, I never had the opportunity to have a new suit that had only belonged to me. Currently, I have one pair of dress pants that are now too tight and wearing them is distracting and somewhat embarrassing. Being involved in this program (HAAMI), I realize how limiting it is to not have the proper attire to wear when attending formal events. Yesterday when I went for my measurements, it was exciting and validating to know that I would be receiving a suit made just for me. More importantly, because I have this suit, I now have the chance to participate in any professional event or opportunity that will come my way." - Recipient Leedon Morgan
"This suit will reveal the power beneath me by allowing me to make an impression on the person that will potentially interview me for the job that God has planned for me. I will name this suit 'the go get that JOB suit.' I would like to once again show my gratitude in accepting this gift as an honor to wear it with my head held high, and to wear it with the pride and dignity." - Recipient George Burton
More about HAAMI:
HAAMI focuses on improving the retention and graduation rates of African American males attending the University of Memphis by enriching each students' academic, personal, and social development.
In monthly group sessions, HAAMI participants learn career, personal, and life skills from university faculty and staff as well as business leaders. Session presentations include topics such as university support resources, mental health, student loan debt, internship, professional etiquette, and job readiness. Mentoring and individual coaching, special events, and peer fellowship and support are additional components of HAAMI.
Targeting Social Disparities:
Hooks Institute programs provide direct interventions to help eliminate racial, health, and socioeconomic disparities in the Mid-South. Best practices identified through our efforts are disseminated for replication throughout the nation.
More info about HAAMI: http://www.memphis.edu/benhooks/programs/haami.php