April 19, 2018 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Grand Rapids Community College student discovered he needed a solid support system to help him realize his dream of helping others.
After six years in the Army, Jesse Krewson started working at a local homeless shelter. His leadership skills were useful, but he felt that he could do more.
"I quickly realized that there was a lot more to know about mental health and navigating systems," he said. "My goal at GRCC was to better myself -- and the community around me."
But his determination began to falter as he found college overwhelming. He considered quitting and looking for a full-time job
That's when Alpha Beta Omega stepped in.
ABO is a leadership development program designed at GRCC to improve graduation rates for African American men. Members of ABO, which is funded by the Wege Foundation, work with mentors on strategies for success in college, career and life. They have access to one-on-one tutoring, workshops, study tables, and math and writing groups. ABO members also volunteer in the community, mentoring elementary students, giving presentations at high schools, and organizing holiday toy collections.
"Students in ABO support, challenge and comfort one another," said associate professor Andre Fields, the group's director. "In essence, ABO functions as a hub where students can exchange optimism, hope, vision, expectancy and accountability."
"This was the resource I needed to gain back confidence and the drive to continue toward my degree," Krewson said. "With Alpha Beta Omega's help and resources, I felt like I had four new tires!"
He went on to make the President's and Dean's lists -- while encouraging other students to stick with their studies.
Krewson will receive an Associate of Arts during commencement, which starts at 7 p.m. April 27 at Ford Fieldhouse, 111 Lyon St. NE.
He's been accepted into Calvin Theological Seminary's Master of Divinity program and was awarded a $10,000 Presidential Scholarship.
"My aim professionally is to follow my passion to help those who suffer with mental health issues," he said. "I plan to secure my future through education and build a social network that allows me to navigate any obstacle life can bring."
Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.