The founding members were born and raised in Chicago and grew up surrounded by negative associations within their communities. The only way to abolish such negativity would be to start with the individual person. Once in college, the founding members decided to form a Greek collegiate organization that would provide an opportunity for young men to achieve a positive "standard of manhood" – demonstrated through community development and service to humanity. By directly assisting communities develop service projects and promoting leadership amongst the youth, especially the young men. As a result, the men of Phi Rho Eta Fraternity, Inc. will also mature and develop personally, and achieve the general purpose.
There is an increase in the existence of gang involvement, crime, and other unlawful activities (in the inner cities as well as rural areas) amongst adolescents. One explanation for such behaviors was explored by the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development. The Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development published a report in 1993 called, A Matter of Time: Risk and Opportunity in Non-School Hours. This report maintained that for many, non-school hours harbor both risk and opportunity. The report further stated that “On weekends and during the summer months, American youth have even greater amounts of discretionary time. For those teenagers without adult supervision, the out of school hours constitutes high risk time for high risk behavior.” The report concluded that young people left to their own or with peers stands a significantly greater chance of becoming involved in substance abuse, sexual activities leading to unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, crime and violence than their peers who are engaged in constructive activity. The report exclaims, for low income adolescents, economic disadvantages and the stresses of life in their neighborhoods are exacerbated by lack of places that provide safe heavens, attractive opportunities, and trustworthy adults.
One aspect of mentoring is reaching a high-risk group of adolescents who are likely to face multiple problems in school and at home and whom have little confidence in themselves. These young people are often growing up in difficult circumstances, with families struggling financially and/or with parents who are unavailable or unable to provide needed support. Mentors believe they have been particularly successful in helping youths overcome such problems as having negative feelings about themselves, skipping school, and poor grades. Analysis of survey findings show that mentoring is more likely to be successful when the relationship endures at least two years, and when the mentor engages in a wide range of activities and offers guidance for the young person.
The belief that every individual’s purpose in life is to benefit another individual is widely shared amongst Brothers of Phi Rho Eta Fraternity, Inc. We also believe that our programs will have an impact on some young child’s life. Our intent is to develop programs which will target at-risk teens in disadvantages communities through our local chapters. We would like to take these programs one step further in that, we want to develop partnerships within the community to assist with identifying resources – such as drugs and gangs that plague individuals and families. We want our members to learn to socially interact, on a positive level, with each other, other leaders, and the young men in the local communities; thereby, exemplifying a positive “Standard of Manhood”, as well as becoming role models and mentors. In doing so, the members, as well as those they come in contact with, will have a better understanding of how to interact with one another peacefully and productively. What we learn, and already know, we can pass on to the young men in troubled communities. Phi Rho Eta Fraternity, Inc. simply wants to put an emphasis on developing communities, by helping the young men in the communities of local chapters.
The concept that I am introducing to you is “College based Mentoring” – an innovative approach to mentoring at-risk youth in high school. Imagine the impact such as service can have on at-risk teenagers in local high schools. By forming collaborative partnerships with the community (i.e. community youth centers and local high schools), Phi Rho Eta Fraternity, Inc. will be able to establish group mentor programs to assist in mentor relationships, which will be beneficial in helping the adolescent learn good study habits, participate in healthy productive relationships that could foster positive behavior, lessens the anxiety around moving towards independence; and applying to colleges or pursuing a trade.
One major component of the “Mentor Teacher Brother” program is the interaction between the mentor and the mentee. Through a formal agreement with the high school, the mentor will be able to check on the progress of the student in school, work with the student in after-school settings on subjects he need assistance in, and mentees will be able to experience what a typical day or week of a mentor by going to classes with mentors. Other one-on-one experiences include the Mentor Teacher Brother “E-Mentor” program. Students are able to receive help from mentors from various Universities and Colleges on subjects (such as math, science, social studies, political science, etc) through the internet. Through partnerships with community youth centers, Phi Rho Eta Fraternity, Inc. will be able to host community service programs and outdoor activities (i.e. basketball, swimming, weight-lifting, etc.) where participants will be able to interact with one another in a supervised safe environment. There are plans in the near future for mentees to also be able to participate in activities held at the national headquarters of Phi Rho Eta Fraternity, Inc. Mentees will be involved in life skills training and self-enhancement workshops (i.e. leadership development workshops and workshops on social etiquette) offered by mentors.
In short, adolescence is a time of risk and opportunity. During the critical transition to adulthood, youths are learning skills, attitudes, and behaviors that will affect their lifelong ability to lead productive and healthy lives. In the search for interventions that could enhance this transition, mentoring has been widely noted for its potential to provide support and guidance. Out of the hope that caring adults can provide encouragement and impact skills and values necessary for later success in school and employment, new efforts are under way in cities across the nation to expand the numbers of adults willing to volunteer as mentors. Nevertheless, it is necessary that this message is shared with other college students; in hopes that they would want to become part of the mission. This is why it is important for Phi Rho Eta Fraternity, Inc. to expand the organization by recruiting other members. Members of Phi Rho Eta Fraternity, Inc. are also mentors. Consider formal and informal positive relationships that you have had that had a significant impact on your life; those positive relationships and experiences, influenced where you are today. Wouldn’t it be great to allow a youth in need of guidance the opportunity to benefit from your positive growth and encouragement? What better service to provide to mankind that the serve of giving back…