Boys to Men


8 men who are making a difference through mentoring and the boys they are helping to mold into men

In an innovative mentoring program, eight successful men are proving they are, in fact, their brother’s keepers.

Photography by Liesa Cole

“I Am My Brother’s Keeper” is an academic, spiritual, social, civic, and leadership enrichment program founded to guide young men (10th grade to college) on a path to be successful in their education, careers, families and their communities. The comprehensive mentoring program encourages young men to maintain competitive grade point averages through high school to increase their opportunities for scholarships and acceptance into competitive four year universities. The program features a unique systematic approach to accomplish its mission. Participants are provided tutoring, leadership development, financial literacy workshops, etiquette training, introduction to various industries including job shadowing, entrepreneurial workshops and one on one mentoring from successful leaders in the community. This organization and approach is different and proven to work because of its comprehensive curriculum, guidance from proven leaders and encouragement from the cohort to obtain success. Participants meet several times a month with a tutor, once a month as a group and at minimum once per month with their assigned mentor. Successful completion of the program prepares all of these young men to be productive and prosperous citizens. In addition, the top achievers in the program are guaranteed full scholarships/financial support to cover their college expense. Participating schools are the University of Alabama, Auburn University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Samford University.

Founded by Dontá Wilson, president of BB&T of Alabama, the group is designed to create opportunity, awareness, and a context or pathway to success for eight young African-American men.  Selected inner city participants (rising 10th graders) will be academically gifted, but financially limited, at risk boys with a minimum entering GPA of 2.25, from a low income household and a desire to attend college.

Mentors

Donta Wilson with Cedric Powell of Carver High

Dontá Wilson is President, BB&T of Alabama—a financial services company. He is responsible for leading the largest BB&T acquisition in the company’s history (merger of Colonial Bank). In his role as president, he is charged with developing and growing BB&T’s Alabama market share. Wilson is the youngest person to serve as a regional and state president in the history of BB&T. He earned his B.S. in Management from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and an MBA from the University of Maryland. Wilson also completed the Tuck Executive Program at Dartmouth.

John Patterson with Mingo Allen of Holy Family Cristo Rey

John Patterson is an agent owner with State Farm Insurance Company —specializing in home, auto and life insurance products. Patterson has 22 years of direct insurance experience. He is active in the Homewood Community and coaches both baseball and basketball community leagues. He is a member of the newly developed Leadership Council for Faulkner University. Patterson received his Marketing and Management degree from Faulkner University.

Bobby Humphrey with Ladell Dawson of Ramsey High School

Bobby Humphrey is a sales representative for Ready Mix USA—a construction products company, specializing in concrete manufacturing. Humphrey is a well known former professional football player. He was also the head coach of the Birmingham Steeldogs Arena Football League from 2000-2005. Humphrey enjoyed four successful seasons playing for the Crimson Tide. His NFL experience includes playing with the Denver Broncos and the Miami Dolphins.

Dr. Vincent Michael Bivins is a urologist with the Urology Centers of Alabama, P.C. His clinical interests include renal stone disease, urologic oncology, renal stone disease in spinal cord injured patients, and robotic prostatectomy. He is the only urologist in the state that performs robotic reconstruction procedures. Dr. Bivins completed his medical education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. In 1997, Dr. Bivins received the SCS American Urology Association Resident Teaching Award.

Herschell Hamilton is mentoring Damon King of Holy Family Cristo Rey. Hamilton was unable to attend the photo session so Alex Bumper who assists the program stood in for him.

Herschell L. Hamilton is a co-founder and managing director of Formation Methods—a real estate development services firm. Hamilton’s previous work experience includes serving as an investment banker with Raymond James Financial and Porter White and Company; vice president of New Market Ventures for Masada Resource Group LLC; and CCO of a media/technology company he cofounded.

Additionally, he has served in two high-level public administration posts with Alabama Governor Jim Folsom, Jr. and Birmingham Mayor Richard Arrington. He has an undergraduate degree in Zoology from Howard University, Washington, D.C. and a Masters in Public and Private Management from Birmingham–Southern College.

Robert Kelly with Nicolas Jackson of Wenonah High

Robert Kelly is owner of Kelly Construction—a private general contractor company. Kelly is actively involved in the greater Birmingham community. His involvement includes active participation in such organizations as: Operation New Birmingham (ONB), Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Birmingham. Kelly is a graduate of Jackson State, where he received his B.S. in Communication.

Barry Walker with Austin Jackson of Parker High School

Barry Walker is the managing partner of Walker LLC. Walker is a 1992 graduate of Birmingham-Southern College; a 1997 graduate of the Cumberland School of Law, Samford University (Jurist Doctorate); and a 2000 graduate of the National Law Center, George Washington University (Masters of Law in the Laws).

In addition to working for some of the most prestigious trial law firms in Washington, D.C.; Walker served as law clerk to the Honorable U.W. Clemon, United States District Judge, Northern District of Alabama. Walker has dedicated his legal career to pursuing justice on behalf of individuals who have been victimized by accidents, fraud and medical negligence. His extensive community service record, likewise, reflects his life-long dedication to aiding the underprivileged and injured.

Judge Abdul Kallon with Aaron Wilbanks of Jackson Olin.

Judge Abdul Kallon is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. He was nominated to the court by President Obama and was sworn in on February 1, 2010. Judge Kallon received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in 1990, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1993. Kallon served as law clerk to the Honorable U. W. Clemon on the Northern District of Alabama. He joined the law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in 1994 and focused on labor and employment law.

Dr. Michael Bivens with Micah Holloway of Woodlawn High

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