Former program members return to share stories

By Maddie Christian/reporter

Men of Color Collaborative has a place for anyone who wants to be involved, said NE coordinator Marjeanna Burge during its kickoff event Jan. 30.

Former MCC members Shaw Hu, Horacio Aguilera and Juan Esparza gathered with Burge to share their experiences with the program.

Hu shared stories about trips he took with MCC and the internship opportunities it provided.

“It broadens your horizons,” he said. “You look at things from a different angle.”

MCC helped him to understand the concept of credit interest, he said, and provided mentors who taught him how to properly handle his expenses to avoid future debt. Hu said MCC provided opportunities to share with others what he had learned from the program.

“We want to help people in need who don’t know how to get help,” Hu said.

Esparza talked about the mentors MCC provided who taught him important leadership skills that helped him feel comfortable in diverse environments.

“Every time I walk into an intercultural community now, I try to envision myself as a leader,” Esparza said.

Aguilera shared stories of conferences he attended with MCC. Developing friendships, he said, was one of the greatest outcomes for him. MCC also helped encourage him to stay committed to his studies.

MCC student worker Hadiya Ahmed discussed her experience in the program working with Habitat for Humanity. She said it was a great opportunity to build a home for someone who had just moved to the country and did not have much.

“You have to come in with an open mind,” Ahmed said.

Shelly Heideman, MCC’s success coach, explained her passion for the program and what it offers. The employees are enthusiastic and ready to help students in any way needed, she said.

“If we don’t have the answer, we’ll find it for you,” Heideman said.