Art Brooks has been an effective community leader — with a special interest in helping local African-American youth succeed — since coming to Wilmington in 1993 to serve as Wilmington College’s director of multicultural affairs.
Upon his retirement from WC in 2012, persons in the community wishing to honor his legacy contributed to a scholarship fund that would be awarded to former participants in Wilmington’s Hot Hoops program that also were active leaders as high school students and, now, show great promise as they enter college.
Jaiden Williams received the first Art Brooks Hot Hoops Leadership and Citizenship Scholarship in 2014 when she enrolled at WC. As the second award is nearing presentation, the scholarship committee is engaged in a fundraising drive that would bolster the fund to ensure that it continues to assist local residents in realizing their dream of attending college.
Bill Peelle chairs the fundraising drive.
“Art has dedicated his life to the education and mentoring of youth,” Peelle said, noting he first met Brooks in 1993 when both were involved with developing what turned out to be the community’s inspiring response to the Ku Klux Klan’s rally in Wilmington.
“He’s been an especially positive advocate for an at-risk population as a role model and effective leader,” he added. “Many friends have contributed to the scholarship fund as a means for perpetuating Art’s significant impact.”
Eleanor Harris, executive director of Harvest of Gold, which administers the scholarship, praised Brooks as a “great asset” to the community.
“His love for our youth and especially his work with mentoring young African-American males will always be a reminder to them of someone who cares,” she said.
Brooks was a founder of Hot Hoops in 1995 and provided leadership in developing the program designed to accentuate positive role models for local African-American youth within the context of basketball, guest presentations and other constructive activities.
In spite of his retirement several years ago, Brooks remains active in the community, continuing his positive influence upon local youth.
“I am very thankful to the Wilmington and Clinton County communities for its continuing support of our Hot Hoops program under the direction of Eleanor Harris,” Brooks said, noting “it is a real honor” to have his name attached to the scholarship.
“It is truly gratifying that this scholarship will assist our Hot Hoops participants with their college education,” he added. “I would like to recognize and thank the Harvest of Gold Board members for their work and Bill Peelle for volunteering to serve as this year’s fundraising chairperson.”
Brooks noted that Peelle was one of the original members of the Hot Hoops Board and he has continued to lend his support for 20 years.
Persons interested in contributing to the scholarship fund can send their gift to: Harvest of Gold, Art Brooks Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 1061, Wilmington, OH 45177.