The Student African American Brotherhood/Brother 2 Brother organization (SAAB/B2B) provides young men from all backgrounds a means of social and academic support; they’re passionate, compassionate, and they’re concerned about your collegiate success. Here at Central, the brotherhood is strong.
Dr. Bledsoe and SAAB spokesperson Dondrė Whitfield. Photo credit: Mr. Tyree Vance, Advance Image
“When you walk through that door, we’re going to embrace you and validate you,” said SAAB founder and CEO Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe. “I don’t care what side of town you’re from or what your story is. I don’t care if you’re black, white, Latino or Asian. SAAB will embrace you.”
Welcome to Los Angeles
This past weekend (Friday, Oct. 16 through Sunday, Oct. 18) the CWU B2B chapter attended SAAB’s Western Regional Cluster Summit and 25th anniversary gala in Los Angeles. Being one of SAAB’s newest chapters, this was the first time the CWU members had a chance to meet and mingle with their brothers from other chapters.
Dr. Keith Champagne and Dr. Raymond Hall put tireless effort into bringing the SAAB/B2B organization to our campus, and last spring their vision was fully realized. Working in collaboration with SAAB’s national headquarters in Toledo, Ohio, Dr. Champagne and Dr. Hall successfully established the first B2B collegiate chapter in the Northwest region, effectively connecting the CWU campus with a nation wide network of student and professional SAAB colleagues and mentors.
“Dr. Champagne and I both want to provide these young men something that gives them hope for the future,” said Hall. “This is what SAAB does; it gives students hope.”
“I think its history-making,” added Champagne. “We’re doing something they’re not doing at Washington State, University of Washington, Western or Eastern. We’re hoping to make history here.”
Dr. Bledsoe, Dr. Hall, and Dr. Champagne at the reception.
CWU SAAB Brothers swagged in their black suits.
“Saving Lives … Salvaging Dreams”
SAAB/B2B strives to be the premier organization of professional and academic support and mentorship in the country. They drive their members to strive for greatness. Their model is one of success, and they do not settle for mediocrity. To be a member of SAAB is to embrace these standards and to make a commitment to education and to achieve graduation.
Underprivileged young men are at a greater statistical risk of failure, and those who lack a strong network of support are even more at-risk. In 2005, only 11 percent of all enrolled college students were African American males, and an even more alarming statistic is the number of diplomas issued to African American males in that same year – a mere 7 percent. And this is not an issue of complacency or competency; it is an issue of support and opportunity.
These numbers have been on a steady increase over the last ten years, in part due to the work done by organizations like SAAB. By providing a model of love, inclusion, and relentless pursuit of its members’ success, SAAB serves as a foundation on which the academic structures of these young men can be built. Much like a house, the structure cannot stand without the foundation.
The CWU crew at the anniversary celebration and gala.
Setting the Standard for 25 years and Counting
In 1990, Dr. Bledsoe established the organization’s first chapter at Georgia Southwestern State University. In 1996, SAAB extended its reach across state lines when it opened its second chapter on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. This was the start of the expansion of a program that would reach nation wide and find itself as the leading institution for academic support and philanthropy for underprivileged African American males. Now in its 25th year, SAAB has 320 chapters in 34 states and continues to expand.
SAAB’s mission is to provide positive intervention to promising young men who may otherwise lack support and opportunity. “We invest in those things we care about,” said Bledsoe. “We don’t want to replace your family, we want to be an extension of your family. We want you to graduate college, and what we provide is guidance. To quote the late Dr. King, ‘Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles but we have misguided men.’”
For more information about the CWU B2B chapter and to learn how to join the brotherhood, click here.