An assignment in his first graduate education class at Trevecca nourished a seed in the mind and heart of Jarvis Bernard “J” Sheffield MEd ’10, multi-media design specialist in the Office of External Relations. The assignment to create a promotional kit led J to focus on one for a fictional mentorship organization, a program that he considered as a “lofty goal” to do “someday.”
A short time later a friend told J that he wished he could do more than simply take boys on outings in his volunteer work with Big Brothers. The friend wanted to teach the boys Christian principles and to help them succeed in school.
The seed blossomed—and Determined Brothers was born. J and his friend enlisted two more friends and gained 501C status for their new organization, whose purpose is “[t]o spiritually edify young black males, through affirmation.” With the names of boys whose teachers had recommended tutoring, these four brothers in Christ began mentoring boys—teaching them about God and their importance to God, showing interest in their performance at school (both academic and behavioral), and providing male role models for these boys, many of whom who have no father at home.
In 2010 Determined Brothers served ten boys, but 350 boys have been recommended and are on the waiting list after others saw the improvements in the school performance and behavior of the first ten in the group. In January after their background checks are completed, two more volunteers will begin working as mentors at Determined Brothers.
Several times a week at the end of his work day at Trevecca, J dashes out to his tutoring appointment from 5 to 7 PM. “It really is fulfilling to me to know that I am making a different in a child’s life and doing God’s work,” said J; “I would love to see Determined Brothers become a national organization, spread throughout the country, with other men doing what we are doing.”
(Caption for picture 6)
Jarvis Bernard “J” Sheffield