VSU program hopes to increase retention rate for Black men

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - As you’re driving through Valdosta, you may have noticed a new Valdosta State University billboard.

It features a student hoping to inspire others.

“It’s a big accomplishment. Statistics would say I’m not supposed to be here, but I’m here today and it’s great,” said Breylen Taylor.

Taylor graduated from Valdosta State University recently.

He wants to shows other African-American men that it’s possible.

Taylor said he joined the African-American Male Initiative (AAMI) when he began at VSU.

VSU grad featured in new billboard, Breylen Taylor.
VSU grad featured in new billboard, Breylen Taylor.(WALB)

AAMI aims to increase the enrollment, retention and graduation of African-American men within Georgia’s public colleges and universities.

“When we come to college institutions, it’s kind of hard for us, especially if we didn’t have that father figure coming up and then we get into this college institution like, ‘what do I do,” said Taylor.

Taylor said the program provides the support they need.

Since the program began in 2002, thousands of African-American men enrolled and graduated from University System of Georgia (USG) institutions.

AAMI is at 26 of the 29 USG campuses throughout the state.

They offer academic support, networking and help with resume building, all to help Black men succeed.

“I’ll say it’s possible, you can do it, anybody can do it, no matter your skin color, no matter your background, it doesn’t matter,” said Taylor.

A first-generation graduate, Taylor said he hopes to continue his learning, enter the medical field and move to a big city.

“I go by this quote by Inky Johnson, ‘the process is worth more than the product.’ So no matter how the process looks at the moment, it’s going to be meaningful in the end, so you have to continue to keep striving and persevering through, also continue to reach out and look up to other Black male figures that are doing great in the community as well,” said Taylor.

Copyright 2021 WALB. All rights reserved.