SAN ANTONIO — Two college students are starting a first-of-its-kind council closing the gap for young men in San Antonio.
Sophomores Francisco Hernandez and Mark Fryar first met when they joined the San Antonio College Men Empowerment Network last year.
"He's my brother," Fryar said while sitting next to Hernandez. "When I started, I was just part of SAC MEN, but now it's more of I want to get involved with my community. I want to do more."
Hernandez and Fryar both had a difficult upbringing and once believed that college wasn't in their future.
"Through middle school and high school it was tough," Hernandez said. "I didn't have the mentors or the support I needed until I finally got here."
Their drive and success caught the attention of My Brother's Keeper San Antonio (MBKSA). The two were asked to start a local council with the purpose of encouraging local communities to overcome obstacles faced by boys and men of color, while also ensuring opportunities for them to become successful.
The pair will be responsible for mentoring young men across San Antonio. This week they attended the national convention MBK RISE! in California, where they met former President Barack Obama and received the blessing for this new council.
"It's not impossible. Me and Mark, we were able to make something out of their lives and we want to make sure that this program helps individuals see that they themselves can make something great," Hernandez said. "We want to focus on high school students graduating and going to a trade school or community college or university."
The two students are now starting the process, recruiting members for the council and gaining their official charter.