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New group focuses on positive role modeling
By Ashley Cole News Editor
September 13, 2012
While most students were vacationing over the summer, UNCP senior Antonio Woodard was busy building a new organization called Minorities Advancing for Distinction and Empowerment.
Woodard had been brainstorming for the past year about starting an organization, but didn't want to begin until he had the time, which he found over summer break.
"I put together a strong group of ambitious and intelligent individuals whom I strongly felt embodied leadership qualities and aspired to be as successful as I want to be in the near future," Woodard said.
M.A.D.E. Men has been an official organization for less than a week and has already seen great interest, using word of mouth as its biggest promotional tool.
"I believe we already have more than 50 members and will easily reach over 100 by the end of this year," Woodard said.
During the summer when M.A.D.E. Men was getting started, members began doing community outreach.
According to Woodard, the first thing they did was proctor exams for Pembroke Middle School. He wanted to expose the students to a positive image of minority men in the classroom.
"You hardly ever see male teachers, and on top of that, you really don't see minority male teachers," Woodard said.
He also wanted to show the students that school is fun. He wanted them to see that going to school, dressing well and talking well is the cool thing to do.
Faculty adviser Robert Canida said he would like to see the members "reach out to places like Purnell Swett and other schools in the county that are primarily [made of] young men of color that need to see positive college role models."
M.A.D.E. Men also mentored boys twice a week at the Odom Baptist Home for Children in Pembroke.
"Those are the kind of guys who I find great fulfillment in working with," Woodard said. "The ones who have been left in the dark and who a lot of people have already given up on."
"That was great," Canida said. "I encouraged the leadership of M.A.D.E. Men to continue that because it's important for those young men at the Odom home to see positive role models here on campus."
Woodard, having grown up without a mentor, put emphasis on his members being positive role models for the young boys and instilling "confidence and belief in them."
"They are us, and we are them," Woodard said. "They can see what they could be in a few years if they just put in the work, so we want to take a good group of guys over there and show them what they can be."
M.A.D.E. Men has more community outreach planned for the future. Woodard said that one of their biggest events will be going to the Duke Cancer Treatment Center to spend time with patients.
"I'm most intrigued by cancer patients because it seems like every patient I've come across has an extremely unique outlook on life that I believe will be very contagious when putting our men in that kind of environment," Woodard said.
Canida, who is also the director of the Office of Multicultural and Minority Affairs (OMMA), wants to see the organization be more involved with educational and academic programs on campus.
He would also like to see them collaborate with OMMA and groups like the NAACP and campus sororities and fraternities.
Woodard is optimistic about the future of M.A.D.E. Men and hopes that it will spread to other universities across North Carolina and other states.
M.A.D.E. Men meets every Monday and Thursday from 6-8 p.m. in OMMA, located in Old Main 128.
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