'My Brother's Keeper' Launches in Cleveland, Akron
by Michelle Faust
Representatives from Washington, D.C. came to Cleveland recently to announce a federal program intended to help keep disadvantaged kids—particularly young men of color—on a successful path. “My Brother’s Keeper” recently launched in Cleveland and Akron.
There are already mentorship and other educational programs in Cleveland aimed at helping young people of color prepare for college and the work force, but My Brother’s Keeper is meant to bring those efforts under one umbrella.
The Obama administration’s Broderick Johnson oversees the federal arm of the project. He says M-B-K gets local organizations together to create a community plan of action so economically disadvantaged youth are well educated and kept safe from violent crime.
"There are so many diamonds in the rough in our communities, kids who just need to know where it is they can go to pursue their dreams," says Johnson.
Mentorship programs are central to the program. Karon Dukes is a 16-year who says learning to work on his car with his mentor has helped prepare him for the future.
"Since I want to be an engineer, instead of waiting until I get to college so I could do it, I’ll already know something and I can catch on whatever I don’t know faster and I’ll already know the basics," says Dukes.
By joining the program, Cleveland and Akron become eligible for federal grants to help implement a “cradle to college” strategy.