ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON – Brothers at Bard (BAB) has been awarded a $2,000 grant from the Ulster Savings Charitable Foundation to support their academic enrichment mentoring program for young men of color from underserved backgrounds. Bard College students in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, volunteer as “big brothers” or mentors to students in grades 9–12 at Kingston High School. Each academic year, BAB works with about 15–20 young men, targeting students at risk of not graduating or not pursuing higher education. They run a series of character development workshops and team-building activities to promote academic excellence, college readiness, and overall positive life choices for the students.
“We can attest to how transformational the program is for the Kingston High School students, and how many of them gain the confidence and skills to think more critically and envision higher education as a realistic and attainable next step,” said Dariel Vasquez, BAB founder and co-director of the program. “We are grateful for the grant that Ulster Savings has provided us with in helping us accomplish this goal,” he added.
Brothers at Bard started in 2014 as a student initiative at Bard College. The mentoring program stemmed from the BAB Club on Bard’s campus and was created by Bard students in the fall of 2014. Each year, 10 BAB members from the on-campus group become mentors to the high schoolers involved in the program. All BAB members who volunteer for the program receive extensive training prior to becoming mentors.
The Ulster Savings Charitable Foundation was formed in 2003 to assist the local community in areas of housing, education, and human services.