Mayor William Bell recently hosted a My Brother’s Keeper summit with community stakeholders. Public and private partners from around the region joined the Mayor and City Council for the afternoon long session. Mayor Bell co-chairs the national initiative.
President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper as an initiative designed to determine what works to help young people stay on track to reach their full potential. Over the past five years, the hard work and grit of the American people pulled our economy back from the brink of collapse and we are moving forward again. Still, there is more work to be done; boys of color are too often born into poverty and live with a single parent. In many areas of our country, dropout rates remain high. Many of these young men will have negative interactions with the juvenile/criminal justice system, and the dream of a college education is within grasp for too few.
The White House is identifying programs and policies that work, and recommending action that will help all our young people succeed. The City of Birmingham has combined several existing initiatives with new programs to develop RISE, which will, in turn, complement the goals of My Brother’s Keeper. The four areas of Birmingham’s RISE program collectively push for young people be successful from ‘cradle to career.’ In addition, these programs improve and sustain a healthy municipal infrastructure.
MBK key milestones in the path to adulthood that are especially predictive of later success, and where interventions can have the greatest impact:
• 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
• Completing post-secondary education or training
• Successfully entering the workforce
• Keeping kids on track and giving them second chances
By focusing on these key moments, and helping our young people avoid roadblocks that hinder progress across life stages, we can help ensure that all children and young people have the tools they need to build successful lives. (Adapted from source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/my-brothers-keeper.)
Attendants of the summit included local, regional and national partners along with federal agencies and government officials. Birmingham Mayor William A. Bell, Sr. has committed more than $600,000 in City funds to create a City-sponsored grassroots effort to specifically focus on achieving the goals of My Brother’s Keeper. Birmingham’s MBK effort will be housed in Mayor Bell’s office, under his Division of Youth Services and will be facilitated in various Birmingham City Schools and Recreation Centers throughout the City.