Ethan Weber serves as our Development Coordinator. A recent TCU graduate, Ethan was a member of TCU Beta Upsilon Chi and was instrumental in the development of this partnership.
Step into our building on any afternoon of the week and you’re likely to find one of our boys doing homework or playing games with a male college student. Most of these young men hail from TCU’s Beta Upsilon Chi Fraternity, more commonly referred to as BYX. BYX is the Christian fraternity on campus and has existed at TCU since 1989 with a mission of “establishing brotherhood and unity among college men based on the common bond of Jesus Christ.”
Two years ago, several members of the fraternity, who were mentoring Fortress boys at the time, decided to push for Fortress to become the organization’s philanthropic partner. After taking a vote, it was decided that Fortress would in fact become TCU BYX’s philanthropy! What this meant was that BYX was committed to serving Fortress through fundraisers, mentoring and volunteering at other events. Current service chair McKay Lu says, “It was the perfect match because our energy levels are high and so are the boys’ at Fortress. We were able to keep up with each other from the get-go.”
Since then, Fortress has seen an increase in the amount of volunteers, mentors and donations that have come from the fraternity each year. Lu thinks the main reason for this is because, “As more guys are getting over here, they’re going back and telling other guys how much fun it is at Fortress and what a difference you can make by serving over there and that makes them want to get involved too.”
Just since the start of the 2015-2016 school year, BYX has been able to provide 20 mentors who spend an hour a week at Fortress, resulting in every single boy here having a mentor. They’ve also organized parts of the building during a day of service and have plans to dress themselves up to assist with our Trunk or Treat event.
Earlier this week, we interviewed some of the guys to find out why they made the decision to give of their time to Fortress and what they’ve gotten out of the experience so far:
Brooks, who mentors E.J., on why he decided to volunteer at Fortress:
I realized I wasn’t getting involved enough and I wanted to do more outside of campus. Our philanthropy, of course, is Fortress, so that’s where I got involved. I got a couple of friends to go with me every week and we got a good group of kids. It’s turned out to be the best hour of my week.
Keanu, who mentors Kelton, on what he feels he has taught his mentee so far:
We did a devotional two weeks ago, and last week when I came in he said, “hey can we do that again?” and it totally caught me off-guard because I had to fight to get him to sit down and do it that first time. So he goes, “can we do that again?” and I was like, “yeah, absolutely, if you wanna sit down and go over that again we definitely can.” So I’m excited to see where that’s gonna go, to see the kinds of questions he continues to ask. He’s a bright kid. He keeps asking questions that I don’t always know the answers to.
Michael, who mentors Zac, and what his mentee has taught him:
One thing he’s taught me is definitely love. Through some of our quiet times and our talks, he’s told me about the love he has for his parents, for his siblings, for God, for his friends. It’s so cool to see that he doesn’t really care about material possessions and things and a lot of stuff that a 10- or 11-year old boy would. He cares about the relationships and loving others and doing what’s right. It’s cool to see that he has that right mindset that not that many kids have these days.
Kyle, who mentors Trent, on the value of serving while in college:
The biggest thing for me is just taking everything that I’ve learned in life, through education and church, and just giving back. I’ve been blessed with those opportunities, so it’s just great to be able to use that for good and give back to people who maybe haven’t had those same opportunities.
We are so blessed to have such a great partnership with TCU BYX and hope that it continues to make in difference in the lives of our boys for years to come!