Parker Dunaway ’15
Loren Hubbard ’13 founded the Hampden-Sydney Mentor program in the spring of 2011 with the hopes that the men at H-SC could make a positive impact on the lives of the elementary school children at Prince Edward County. Hubbard noticed that there was “a huge disparity in the education of Prince Edward. I also noticed that there was a lack of drive in students to achieve and go on to any type of secondary education.” Hubbard was building off the idea of the Big Brother program that was actually at H-SC in the past. Since that program’s departure from campus, Hubbard took it upon himself to found H-SC’s independent version in order to, as their mission statement says, “provide positive role models for youth in our community” while teaching them “Honor, Integrity, and Gentlemanly Conduct.”
Since the club’s founding, Hampden-Sydney men have shaped many young minds at PEC schools. Paul Boydoh ’14, current President of the Mentor Program, says that he thinks the program is having “a huge impact [on these kids] because I know when I go into the elementary school, I’m not only helping my little brother, I’m helping all the kids.” Boydoh and Hubbard both stressed their and other Hampden-Sydney brothers’ place in the classroom. They mentioned that the program’s activity has greatly increased the classroom and academic production of the littles. Jim Woodward ’15, a big brother in the program, commented, “some of the littles don’t have a great home life. We know that they may need a good male role model in their lives,” and Hampden-Sydney men in the program strive to be that person.
Another big aspect of the Mentor Program is the lessons learned by Hampden-Sydney men themselves. The littles at the elementary school depend on the mentors for many things including stability in their lives, and if the mentors fail to show up there are more than just consequences for the mentor—the little brother was let down. This program is teaching Hampden-Sydney men a new definition of responsibility. Hubbard also commented on the lessons Hampden-Sydney men are learning in regards to race. “Given recent events, I think the fact that most of the kids we mentor are black and that most of the guys that are involved in it are white really opens their perspective up if they had preconceived notions about the opposite race. It breaks those down a little bit and shows them that they are responsible for the next generation regardless of what color the next generation is.” Lessons like these are great benefits for those giving their time to a worthy cause.
Since the founding of the HSC Mentor program, the numbers have grown from the 20s and 30s to a current high of 88 members. The program holds events every semester, sometimes collaborating with Longwood. This coming spring, the program is going to hold its annual “Field Day,” and many people say that is a great highlight to the program. Woodward, Hubbard, and Boydoh all mentioned that participation in the program only actually requires an hour per week at least, and that it doesn’t take that much to really make an impact on a child’s life—willing, able and positive role models are encouraged to join and benefit a member of the community.