WESTBURY, N.Y. — Schools in Westbury are joining a growing number of districts across the country taking part in a mentorship program focused on ensuring young men of color have access to college prep and career opportunities.
These 75 young men from Westbury Middle School and Westbury High School are pledging to help themselves and fellow classmates be their very best, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported Friday.
My Brother’s Keeper, or MBK, teaches study techniques, etiquette, professionalism health and wellness.
“My Brother’s Keeper right now is definitely going to shape me to be a great man,” said 12th grader Jordan Basknight.
Basknight is already well-versed in the program. He was invited to take part in the pilot when he was in 6th grade. Six years later, he’s a public speaker and MBK is an official Westbury School District organization.
The results speak for themselves.
“We have moved from an 84 percent graduation rate to a 92 percent graduation rate,” said the school principal.
My Brother’s Keeper was created by former Pres. Barack Obama to help connect young men of color to careers.
“You can be an entrepreneur, you can be a plumber, an electrician, anything you want to be, a teacher like me,” said teacher Eric Banks.
Malachi Radd, a 12th grader, said he used to consider himself shy, but through MBK he gained confidence to go for his dream of attending theatre school.
“I learned how to go talk to other people and network, businesses, and get myself out there, and not be a backstage person,” said Radd.
MBK meets every Thursday and hosts workshops like college prep, knowing your rights and mental health. And there’s a game truck for practicing critical thinking and collaboration skills, all while recharging and refueling.
“Some people have to have a relaxed mind to actually be good in school,” said 7th grader Michael Santos.
Then, they get matched with mentors.
“There was a guy that we met and, honestly, he was into business and finance. And he just broke it down and he literally explained it to me,” said 12th grader Elon Sylvester. “My biggest dream would have to be to have one of the biggest real estate companies in the world.”
Educators say MBK students are already living up to the program’s motto: “To go as far as their dreams and hard work will take them.”