Four students involved in the Brother 2 Brother (B2B) student organization at Georgia Highlands College recently traveled to the national 2023 Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB) Conference in St. Louis.
The national parent organization for B2B, SAAB focuses on increasing the number of African American and Latino men who graduate from college by creating a positive peer community based on a spirit of caring. Participating students were Kevin Sajous, Chanin Kenner, Tyison Brooks and Jason Dudley.
Two students, Kevin Sajous and Chanin Kenner, were called upon to speak to the main event hall of all attendees.
Sajous, who is pursuing the Entrepreneurship pathway, said he decided to participate in the SAAB conference because it was a great opportunity to network and learn more about different opportunities available to young people of color.
“I spoke about the GHAME/B2B initiative and how amazing it has been,” Sajous said. “I also brought up the fact it was myself and several others’ first SAAB conference and we were determined to not let this opportunity go to waste.”
One aspect of the conference that Sajous found particularly impactful was listening to leadership speak on mental health and the value of finding a mentor.
“Mental health is extremely important, especially in today’s climate, and finding a mentor or a support system will help you get a lot further in life,” he said. “So, I think that GHAME/B2B is an amazing place to be that support system for all the brothers of the group.”
Kenner, who is studying Logistics and Supply Chain Management, attended the conference because he wanted to immerse himself in field experience to grow his contributions to B2B
“I spoke about how vulnerability in Black Men needs to be sought out as a priority,” Kenner said. “I went on to explain how left unchecked it can affect day-to-day life in Black Men and can unintentionally become a part of another affliction we face … even if self-inflicted.”
Kenner drafted out his ideas in between breakout sessions, focusing on what stood out to him from other speakers and what he felt from the heart. He said his public speaking skills have improved following the conference.
“This experience was great, not because I anticipated it, but because I found something I did not know
what I was looking for,” Kenner said. “I left this conference with a new lesson I could take back home and share with others in my community.”
One takeaway from the conference Kenner appreciated was communicating with the SAAB leadership, learning about their backgrounds and how they became involved in leadership positions.
“The transparency of the leadership really shocked me, no matter how high or exclusive the position or
personnel, they all took the time to relate to the students on a personal level,” Kenner said. “This was reassuring, as it showed the students that the successful gentlemen did not fall into their positions but worked hard and arrived there.”
GHAME Coordinator Evan Snelling, along with Project Director of Inclusion Jon Hershey and B2B Alumni Network President Elijah Bransford, presented to a group of national advisors and administrators about the process for creating a B2B alumni structure and group.
Georgia Highlands African-American and Minority Male Excellence or GHAME is an academic success and leadership initiative for African American and Latino men at Georgia Highlands College. Brother 2 Brother or B2B is a student organization that is part of GHAME. The initiative has won state and national recognition, and our members have gone on to successful and meaningful careers around the country.
While in St. Louis, the students had the opportunity to see the Gateway Arch and cross the Mississippi River Bridge.