What Is More Than My Brother’s Keeper?In February of 2014, President Barack Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address overwhelming and persistent disparities in opportunity faced by boys and young men of color. The President called for collective action, stating that “broadening the horizons for our young men and giving them the tools they need to succeed will require a sustained effort from all of us.”
Building a supportive community for young black males
In February of 2014, President Barack Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative tonaddress overwhelming and persistent disparities in opportunity faced by boys and young men of color.
The president called for collective action, stating that “Broadening the horizons for our young men and giving them the tools they need to succeed will require a sustained effort from all of us.”
- Getting a healthy start and entering school ready to learn
- Reading at grade level by third grade
- Graduating from high school ready for college and career
- Successfully entering the workforce
- Keeping kids on track and giving them second chances
Why Franklin County?
Like the nation, Franklin County and the Columbus community have struggled to expand and secure pathways to opportunity for African American men and boys. Our community reflects the many systemic and structural challenges facing the African American community nationwide.
Targeted investments connecting young African American men and boys with pathways to opportunity can equip them with the tools needed to strive for more than just survival on the city’s Southside.
Such investments will empower them to lead engaged and fully participatory lives as equal citizens, with improved consequences for themselves, their families, their communities and the Columbus, Ohio region.
- 59% of Black males ages 6–14 in zip code 43207 live in poverty.
- The Southside of Columbus is considered a “hot spot” for youth gun violence incidents in which the victim was an African American youth.
- Only 2 out of 3 male students at South High School graduate on time, and 11th grade proficiency for African American males in social studies (54% proficient), math (62% proficient) and writing (75% proficient) lags state averages.
Indicators of an “At-Risk” Child
More Than My Brother’s Keeper will identify a cohort of 35 “at-risk” African American males ages 10–14 in the Southside community to begin the pilot program in the early fall of 2014. The following factors can be considered important indicators of an “at-risk” child:
- Behavioral problems in and out of school
- Lack of a two-parent or structured family dynamic
- Resides in a poor and/or unsafe community
- Is part of a low-income household
- Struggles to succeed academically
How the Program Works
Building Genuine Pathways to Opportunity
The program will emphasize a collective impact approach that will involve a triangulation of community resources, including:
- Community assets
- Key stakeholders, including local non-profit organizations and civic associations
- Existing programmatic interventions, including CityYear, Boys & Girls Club, and CD4AP
In addition to the triangulation of community resources, this program seeks to impact the lives of these young men through 15 months of experiential learning opportunities. These programs are set to include:
- Browser’s Welcome
- IResolve Fitness
- Bikes 4 All People
- Nationwide Children’s Hospital
- A Digital Storytelling Capstone Project
Finally, mentoring will be a critical component of this pilot. Each participant will have at least two mentors, with whom they will meet consistently throughout the week. This highly interactive approach will provide the participants with opportunities to expand their perspectives, creating new avenues for brilliance and creativity to flow.
Drawing in part from other highly-interactive programs that acknowledge that child health and success derives from a holistic understanding of family health and stability, More Than My Brother’s Keeper aligns support services for participants where they live; a crucial aspect for the program’s success. Each parent/family member of a program participant will be invited to engage in a complementary developmental program. By leveraging a comparable, intentionally designed curriculum, parents and family members will be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities they require enabling them to successfully accompany their boys during this process.
What We Hope to Achieve
Changing the Trajectory of Lives on Columbus’s South Side
Aligning this program with national initiative, our team seeks to improve the trajectory of the lives of these young men, and prepare them for increased opportunity in their futures. The program will be tracked and evaluated based on qualitative and quantitative data, including personal feedback from the participants themselves. With parental permission, we are committed to tracking the effectiveness of the program and the success of the child beyond the program’s completion on January 2015.
Outside of the specific impact on the participant, More Than My Brother’s Keeper is designed with the potential to be replicated for different neighborhoods and demographics. While the program will be deeply engaged with the unique assets of the Southside, it provides a framework of programming and engagement that can be tailored to the unique assets of other communities in Franklin County.
Who Will Be Involved
At the forefront of this mission is the desire to maximize and connect the many resources, businesses and organizations in Columbus that have the capacity to provide education, lifeskills, mentoring and health care to the targeted young men. Some include Nationwide Children’s Hospital, The Ohio State University, Community Development for All People, CityYear, Boys & Girls Club of Columbus, and Learning Circles.
Phone: (614) 247-1633
Facebook: More Than My Brother’s Keeper - Columbus
- Franklin County Board of Commissioners
- Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services
- Learning Circle
- iResolve Fitness
- Nationwide Children's Hospital
- Browser's Welcome
- The Ohio State University
- Bikes 4 All People
Fill out an application to become a mentor for More Than My Brother's KeeperOnline Mentor Application