WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Being over 2,000 miles away from home can be stressful, especially if you are a college freshman. But for Javondre Cole, a Winston-Salem State University freshman, leaving Oregon was a simple decision.
"I just wanted to be immersed in an environment I felt like I was going to thrive and know my roots and be around people that can relate to me and understand me a lot," Cole said.
When Cole arrived on campus, he jumped right in. He participated in programs related to his sports management major. Plus Cole is an active member in leadership and social groups like "The Male Experience" and "Brother to Brother." Those activities allowed him to refine his leadership skills and meet campus mentors like Theo Chunn.
"Definitely a great role model for me to look up to and something I can be one day by being diligent and following opportunities," Cole said.
Cole is now being presented with a great opportunity. He is taking on a leadership role in Winston-Salem State's two-day Male Empowerment Summit that begins on Thursday. The goal of this year's summit is give attendees the tools they need to overcome the stigma of mental illness in the black community.
"We know as a male population, we've been taught and told that we are suppose to keep it inside," Cole said. "We are trying to change and get rid of that issue that is holding us down and that barrier we are trying to break."
While campus programs and mentors are important, Cole's biggest factor is his grandfather.
"I am glad I had 18 years with him and soak up as much intelligence from him. Living through him is my goal and mission," Cole said.
Cole is a Jordan Brand Wings Scholar. Cole is one of 26 students from across the nation that earned an academic scholarship that will pay for his four years at Winston-Salem State University.