In 2014, President Barack Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative – challenging communities across the country to commit to increasing opportunity for young men of color. Earlier this year, we re-convened and refocused Hartford’s MBK Alliance. With the leadership of Sam Gray from the Boys & Girls Club of Hartford and Hector Rivera from Our Piece of the Pie, and with the tremendous partnership of City Council President TJ Clarke II, State Representative Brandon McGee, and our MBK coordinator Courtenay Jackson, the MBK Alliance brought together dozens of individuals and organizations serving young people in Hartford. One of the common themes in that discussion is the urgent need for more mentors – particularly men, and particularly mentors who’ve shared the experiences of the young men they’re mentoring. We hope this “100 Mentors 100 Days” campaign will help us take a big step forward.
MBKA Hartford represents a coalition of local youth service providers and community partners that are working together to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color in the City of Hartford by increasing their access to opportunities for growth. We will focus our initial efforts on preventing youth violence and providing second chances to justice-involved youth by:
- Launching an MBKA Hartford Mentor Recruitment Campaign to increase the number of diverse mentors serving male youth in the City of Hartford, which will support existing mentoring programs.
- Creating an awareness campaign to increase the number of boys and young men of color in Hartford that are actively participating in youth development programs, specifically job training and socio-emotional support.
Why is our work important?
Throughout Hartford’s history, disparities in opportunities for thousands of boys and young men of color have prevented them from reaching their full potential. A disproportionate number have entered a cycle of poverty, injustice and social immobility as a result of the unique systemic challenges facing young boys of color. With those disparities of opportunity in mind, MBKA works to help young boys and men of color achieve their potential.