Helping Boys Dream Initiative
This initiative is driven to expose boys and young men of color to diverse career paths they may otherwise not consider or have seen themselves in. Expanding their understanding means broadening their social capital — and that’s the secret to opportunities and success, not just academics alone. With greater access to these relationships, students show higher levels of engagement, attain better grades, report higher aspirations, and participate more frequently in college-preparatory activities.
The summer of 2018 was my third year working with Go Project, and as a Success Coach my role has been to work with students and teachers to identify strategies for not only improved academic success — but to create feelings of success within a population that is at-risk of disengaging with education. In one ELA class I was observing, third grade students were asked to write ‘wish letters’ to express their holiday hopes and practice persuasive writing.
While most students wrote about videos games, sporting equipment and lavish vacations, Devante’s (not his real name) wish was to be 26 years-old. He wanted to be old enough to eat when he wanted to — not at designated snack times — and walk around in a building independently. It was another reminder of how some of students, are over-disciplined and over-surveillanced.
“I want to be an office cleaner,” Devante told me when I asked him what he thought he’d be doing at 26. “Like my dad.”
Walking in the footsteps of a loved one is admirable. We need to ask why and how those ideas and ambitions are formed. Children aren’t necessarily just a product of their circumstance, they’re a product of their (and others’) expectations. My hope is to work with boys and young men of color to expand their understanding of their sense of self, potential and place in the world.
INPUT: 100% of donations and funds raised will go towards the execution of my mission: to expose boys and young men of color to diverse career paths they may otherwise not consider or have seen themselves in. Each field trip will cost approximately $800. An ongoing cohort of 6 mentees will be served each academic year — with a commitment to support them through to high school graduation. These 6 mentees will be boys Colin already has a relationship with through his yoga and mindfulness work.
ACTIVITIES: All 6 mentees will be involved in 13 sessions. Each session involves a yoga and mindfulness workshop, group mentoring and a workplace field trip. The yoga and mindfulness helps center the mentees and reconnects them to their uninhibited, uninfluenced Self. The group mentoring offers an open yet intimate forum for mentees to share relatable stories around growth and obstacles. The workplace field trips are chosen specifically to promote visibility of people of color and/or LGBTQ people in various sectors and includes a Q&A session with a relatable member of staff. Field trip sectors will span: performing arts, design, STEM, business, public service and sports.
OUTPUTS: The pilot program is scheduled to commence during the summer of 2019 with daily sessions for one week, Monday to Friday. After these intensive sessions aimed to bolster connection and camaraderie among mentees, monthly sessions will take place on a chosen weekend day from October 2019 to May 2020. This culminates in: 13 hours of yoga and mindfulness; 13 hours of group mentoring; 26 hours of field trips; 13 hours of workplace Q&A sessions.
Short-term: Mentees feel they have developed positive relationships with adult role models and have a safe space to discuss their futures. This could be their growing relationship with Colin or through intentional relationships formed during the workplace field trips. Mentees become advocates for themselves and ask for help.
Mid-term: Mentees enroll or become more engaged in extra-curricular activities in line with their interests and become excited about their futures. Reduced self-destructive behavior and school infractions.
Long-term: Mentees enroll in and complete higher education in a field they are passionate about. Decreased risk of involvement in crime.
At the end of year 1…
100% of funds will go towards fees for two staff members and program expenses related to travel, food, accommodation, field trip entrance fees and study materials.
100% of mentees incur fewer disciplinary infractions as reported by their school.
100% of mentees self-report a positive change and increased trust in non-familial adult relationships.
UYF is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that educates and empowers communities to be proactive about issues affecting their health. Through our service to love model the lifestyle brand and mindfulness yoga programs we create an environment of social emotional change. Helping individuals in communities manage stress, develop mind-body awareness, and health consciousness: We create safe spaces for contemplative practices in homes, businesses, schools organizations and corporations.
SoBRO was founded in 1972 by a group of business executives and community leaders. Our mission was urgent: reverse the flight of businesses and jobs from the South Bronx. It became clearer that community revitalization required a multifaceted effort. Today we address all aspects of community development: assisting businesses to get started and grow, training residents according to the needs of employers, offering opportunities for youth to learn and develop, and creating affordable housing and commercial space that reverses blight in the community.