A loud burst of laughter fills the conference room where Thomas Nelson, adviser for Tri-County Community College’s new United Promise initiative meets with first-year college student Naeem Ahmed to discuss resources available to him on campus.
“The United Promise program at Tri-County exists to provide a resource to first-year minority male students on our campus,” Nelson said as he explained the program to Ahmed. “This is a new initiative aimed at bringing a group of your peers together so that you all can support and encourage each other throughout your time here.”
Nelson, who also works for Cherokee County Schools and is a native of Cherokee County, said he is excited about working with students at Tri-County Community College through his role in the United Promise program.
“Anytime I get to work with students is great," Nelson said. "I moved back here to help the kids growing up in the same community I grew up in."
The United Promise program is funded through the North Carolina Community College System’s Minority Male Success Initiative aimed at recruiting and retaining minority male students across the state.
“This program provides an important outreach into our community to equip our minority male students with anything they need to succeed during their educational journey,” said Dotie Stafford-Ortega, coordinator for the program. “Our goal is to build a cohort of likeminded individuals to serve as role models both on and off campus.”
Ahmed, who joined the program this semester, said he is looking forward to connecting with his peers.
“I really enjoy being involved on campus,” Ahmed said. “This program is a way for us to have support in each other, so that no one feels alone.”
For Nelson, the United Promise program also provides a vital service in helping students feel included on campus.
“I’m fortunate enough to know most of these students already, so it’s great to really have someone be here for them that they feel comfortable enough to confide in,” Nelson said. “Tri-County has so many resources they can take advantage of, and the positive things we can do through this program within our community are endless.”
For more information about Tri-County Community College’s United Promise program log onto www.tricountycc.edu/TC-UP, or call Dotie Stafford-Ortega at 835-4208.
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