ST. CLOUD – A local organization focused on providing mentorship for boys and young men has been revived after more than a decade of dormancy.

Brothers United was started in 1999 by local educator and St. Cloud resident Jarrod Hall. The mission: pairing at-risk male youth with adult male role models for guidance and support.

Brothers United went into hiatus in 2005. Hall says the fatal arrest of George Floyd in May was a big motivator to reboot the group.

“The question now is – how do we unite in St. Cloud?” Hall said. “How can we mentor our young boys and men who are at-risk? Instead of just having a conversation about it, we wanted to create an organization.”

Members of Brothers United, including Hall, have attended recent events to get the word out about the group and identify young men in need of mentorship.  Halls says several dozen volunteer mentors have started meeting to discuss the group’s goals.

“They’re from different walks of life and different cultural backgrounds,” Hall said. “We’ve been coming together to talk about our mission statement. We’ve been creating a 10-point program.”

Hall, who is both a professor and a public school educator, says he has observed a growing crisis among male youth.

“We’re seeing a big spike in suicides among the young men in our community,” he said. “That’s definitely one of the biggest reasons we wanted to create Brothers United.”

Brothers United mentors will spend time with boys and young men, ages five through early 20s, in need of positive male role models. Mentors will also provide support from a distance via the phone or video chats – particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The biggest issue we’re facing right now, of course, is COVID-19,” Hall said. “We’re all not able to get back to our regular routines. So now, we have young men who are at home by themselves. They’re not supervised. And frankly, they’re making some decisions that they probably will regret someday.”

Hall says Brothers United plans to partner with mental health workers and other area professionals to provide youth with the resources they need. Hall is also looking into establishing Brothers United as a 501c3 and assembling a board of directors. In time, Hall hopes to have a dedicated facility.

“Our biggest goal is to open up a resource center we’ll call Boys to Men,” Hall said. “It will offer some of those resources and programs to give those young men some help. We look at our community now – if young men need to reach out, they have nowhere to go.”

Hall says a similar program for young women, called Sisters United, is in development right now.

Brothers United’s website is still under construction. To learn more, or to get involved, call 715-529-1971.

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