The Spirit of Service

By Toran Langford ’21

Building Leaders on Campus—affectionately known as BLOC—has come far since back on March 29, 2010 a band of four students launched one of the most affective organizations at the Claremont Colleges. BLOC’s founders are Salif Doubare ’12, Brian Ssembajjwe ’12, Martin Barrera ’13, and Corey Jacinto ’14.

Today, BLOC has grown to more than 50 participating students. We have become a large community service group run by undergraduates, but there’s still much more work to do. The Young Men’s Circle chapter of BLOC is our essential tool. This BLOC Mentoring Program happens on a weekly basis. Historically, and currently, a team of BLOC members travel every Friday to Pomona High School in Pomona, CA to mentor students. This program has developed into a momentous initiative in the Pomona Unified School District. It’s now led by BLOC’s President Niles Brooks PO ’20 & Ivan Solomon PO ’19. They focus on topics including manhood, responsibility, etiquette, goal-setting, and integrity. Each mentee is encouraged to step out of their comfort zone and pursue their passions. As men of color, we are often limited by societal expectations and by other people lowering their standards for us. This program is an important part of BLOC’s mission to create a positive drive for men of color to keep them on a path to achieve their full potential.