• July/August 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 7

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My Brother's Keeper Initiative

In February, President Obama joined with both private-sector and philanthropic organizations to launch My Brother's Keeper, a new interagency initiative aimed at promoting successful outcomes for boys and young men of color. As part of the initiative, a task force was assembled from across the Federal Government to make recommendations for actions; the task force published their 90-day report on May 30. The report is based on research and interviews with thousands of boys and young men of color (including Black, Hispanic, American Indian, Alaska Native, and other young men). It provides background statistics as well as recommendations.

Noting that the aim of My Brother's Keeper is to close the "opportunity gap" experienced by many American boys and young men of color, the task force report identifies six milestones that predict future success:

  1. Entering school ready to learn
  2. Reading at grade level by third grade
  3. Graduating from high school ready for college and career
  4. Completing postsecondary education or training
  5. Successfully entering the workforce
  6. Reducing violence and providing a second chance

The report recommends that focusing interventions on these milestones will have the greatest impact on the success of boys and young men. For instance, ensuring that children enter school ready to learn requires that they have access to high-quality preschool, that parents and other caregivers provide a rich home environment for learning, that screenings are performed for developmental delays, and that schools cannot expel or suspend young learners. The report provides similar recommendations for the remainder of the milestones, as well as a number of cross-cutting strategies, such as providing incentives to learn.

This first report from the task force is just the beginning of the initiative that seeks to identify programs and practices that are working to close the opportunity gap for boys and young men of color. Other goals include determining how the Federal Government can support positive efforts and how proven practices can be applied across the country. The task force will deliver another report on its progress in February 2015.

The website for My Brother's Keeper offers a way for individuals to help boys and young men of color by signing up to be a mentor. Visit the website to learn more about this opportunity and about the broader initiative:


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