Eighteen children came to TCU to build forts in the Brown-Lupton University Union Ballroom Thursday evening for the Brothers Under Christ philanthropy event, Forts for Fortress.
Teams made up of one sorority, multiple members of BYX and one or two children from Fortress Youth Development Center (Fortress YDC) combined to make a fort out of sheets, tape, chairs, and whatever other materials the sororities brought.
Fortress YDC is a faith-based nonprofit in Fort Worth that exists to provide children tools and resources to get out of the cycle of poverty, said Stacy Kocur, director of communications and development at Fortress YDC. There are currently 85 children in the after-school mentoring program and 20 in the pre-kindergarten program.
“Our goal was to partner with our philanthropy as much as possible, and this is a unique opportunity to work directly with the kids,” junior sports broadcasting major and BYX vice president Ryan Mattingly said.
In addition to Thursday’s event, BYX has about seven members who go to Fortress YDC weekly as part of the nonprofit’s mentor program. The men have a “buddy” with whom they spend an hour each week after school.
Forts for Fortress was the fraternity’s first event for Fortress YDC. BYX previously held an annual date auction to support Refugee Services of Texas, but it was discontined after TCU Panhellenic removed its support of the event.
Forts for Fortress served as both a fundraiser for Fortress YDC and a way to show the children a college campus.
“For Fortress, we want to allow our kids to see what it’s like to be on a college campus,” said senior strategic communication major Ethan Weber, who is a member of BYX and an intern for the nonprofit.
After building forts, BYX president Michael Meek spoke about the possibility of each child going to college and encouraged them to pursue education past high school.
“For them, college may far away and impossible, and getting on campus can make it come alive,” Kocur said.