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Men's Leadership Project

Men's Leadership Project

The Men's Leadership Project is a mentoring program that pairs UVA undergraduates with boys in local middle schools.

How does MLP work?

We combine Big Brother to Little Brother mentoring with group activities that improve the boys' confidence, relationships with others, and healthy decision-making. MLP participants encourage each other along their own paths to becoming the men they want to be.

The combined experience of our staff and student leaders with prior experience in MLP means our Big Brothers have the support they need to be effective mentors.

Who are the Big Brothers?

Big brothers are undergraduate men from any school at UVA who are interested in being a mentor and positive role model for a middle school boy. They apply during the spring semester or over the summer to become MLP Big Brothers at the start of the new school year. They commit to MLP’s weekly after-school sessions at the middle school as well as a series of fun group outings for MLP Big and Little Brothers on Grounds and around Charlottesville throughout the school year. 

Get Involved


As a Big, you will be matched with a local middle school boy for the academic year. The two of you will join a group of other Big and Little Brothers at your Little’s school one afternoon each week for fun activities and group time. An experienced Big will be there to guide and support the group. Your group’s Senior Big will have a year or more of experience, so you’ll be confident that you have a great resource right there with you each week. 

You and the other Big Brothers will also meet once a week for an MLP training session. Led by MLP staff, with expert visitors from Curry, WGS and other offices, this year-long workshop will help you understand developmental challenges that your Little and other boys are facing so you can best support them. You and the other Bigs will be able to call upon the expertise of MLP staff to help you mentor your Littles through the ups and downs that middle school brings. 

In this workshop, you will also explore and reflect upon models of masculinity that you admire. 

You will join all of the MLP Big and Little Brothers a few times a year for group outings like service projects in the local community or special events on Grounds. The Littles take a lot of pride in being able to help others and service is a great way for them to build confidence talking with new people and promoting a local cause. Bringing the middle school boys to UVA gives them an opportunity to explore future education and career options with your encouragement.


Students enjoy their experience with MLP so much, they often stay involved for multiple years! 


As facilitator, you can use your experience to help the Bigs and Littles in your group to connect with each other and get the most out of their time together. You’ll get additional training to effectively manage every part of the program from group dynamics to the curriculum itself. This opportunity is available only to students with previous experience as an MLP Big Brother.


As an intern for MLP, you will join the Women’s Center team and work closely with the staff on recruitment efforts, annual events, and the day-to-day logistics that make the program so successful for the Bigs and Littles. Through our internship class, Front Lines of Social Change, you will expand your knowledge of effective advocacy and connect with the interns who support MLP's sister program, YWLP, and other Women's Center programs.

Mentoring in middle school - where and why?

The middle school years are the most difficult time for many students. Kids are navigating changing selves and shifting group dynamics – all while preparing to handle increased freedom paired with far greater academic and social pressures in high school. Having a mentor can help them with all of these things!

MLP staff at UVA work closely with faculty and staff at Burley, Jack Jouett, and Sutherland Middle Schools where our mentoring groups are based. School faculty and staff help match MLP Bigs with middle school students who demonstrate potential to be leaders in their schools and neighborhoods. Helping these boys see themselves as leaders helps others in their schools and families, too.


Interested in serving as an MLP Big Brother in the future? Apply HERE. Or contact Genevieve Brackins for further information.