"That's what 'My Brother's Keeper' is all about. Helping more of our young people stay on track. Providing the support they need to think more broadly about their future. Building on what works - when it works, in those critical life-changing moments." -President Barack Obama, February 27, 2014.
President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Challenge
For decades, opportunity has lagged far behind for young boys and men of color, particularly in urban communities nationwide. Looking to address the lack of opportunities for young men of color and to improve their outcome, President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative in February 2014.
The MBK community challenge encourages local leaders and their respective communities to come together to develop and implement a coherent “cradle-to-college-and-career strategy” for improving the life outcomes of all young people. It promotes using existing evidence-based and data-driven strategies to develop a long-term and sustainable strategic action plan. It calls on leaders to identify and partner with all community stakeholders in order to assess the local needs and existing assets, determine collective priorities, and set common goals for improvement.
As of date, nearly 200 mayors, county executives, and tribal leaders across 43 states and the District of Columbia have accepted the MBK Community Challenge. Rochester is proud to accept this challenge and present this action plan as groundwork for improving the lives of young people.
City of Rochester Answers the Challenge
On November 12, 2014, Mayor Lovely Warren convened a “Local Action Summit,” bringing together community leaders, clergy, educators and law enforcement to find ways to improve the outcomes for Rochester young people and their families, with an emphasis on young males of color. From that summit, several working groups were formed to look at existing programs and determine how to create a sustainable pathway to success for all youth. Based on their findings, the following recommendations were presented for each milestone:
Milestone 1: All Children Enter School Ready
• Fund Programming Gaps Before and After Pre-k
• Encourage Early Health and Developmental Screenings
• Promote Healthy Living and Fitness
Milestone 2: All Children Read at 3rd Grade
• Empower Parents to take an active role in their child’s development
• Ensure the Public’s trust in Pre-K programs
• Advocate for Additional Resources
Milestone 3: All Youth Graduate from High School
• Create a Mayor’s Mentor Network
• Encourage Private Sector Opportunities for Youth Employment
• Promote Youth Positivity and Educational Messaging
Milestone 4: All Youth are employed
• Improve Summer Youth Employment
• Prepare Youth for the Workforce
• Increase Internship Opportunities for youth
Milestone 5: All Youth are Safer from violence
• Renovate our Efforts to prevent youth violence through community engagement, targeted intervention and counseling
• Encourage Law Enforcement and Communities to work together
• Diversity the Public Safety Departments