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Meet the Communities

Impact Narrative Report

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Meet the Communities
Youth Leadership Institute

Youth Leadership Institute

Healing-Centered Youth Leadership Development

“Healing is core to leadership development, but it’s a journey. Our young people have been on this journey, and as a result, they have seen and grown into their own leadership and their voice and their agency, and I think that’s really, really important to underscore.”

Patricia Barahona, Chief Executive Officer

Youth Leadership Institute’s mission is to build communities where young people and their adult allies come together to create positive social change by providing training, tools, and resources for effective advocacy and by leveraging the experience of adult allies.

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Youth Guidance (BAM) & Thrive

“We believe that violence is a symptom of not systemically supporting boys and young men of Color, We believe that by addressing the underlying conditions that prevent boys and young men of color from achieving their dreams is implicitly a violence prevention strategy.”

Chris Goins, Chief Equity Officer for  Thrive Chicago Opens in a new tab

Youth Guidance Opens in a new tab  (YG) creates and implements school-based programs that enable at-risk children to overcome obstacles, focus on their education, and ultimately succeed in school and in life. Youth Guidance impacts more than 12,000 youth each year and Thrive Chicago has brought together 600 individuals representing nearly 200 child and youth serving organizations to accomplish the shared objective of supporting Chicago youth from “cradle-to-career.”

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Youth Guidance (BAM) & Thrive
The Mentoring Center

The Mentoring Center

The Mentoring Center provides life coaching, case management, leadership development, and Transformative Mentoring to boys and young men of color impacted by the juvenile and criminal legal systems through an integrated and evidence-based strategy of violence prevention, intervention, and reentry. Transformative Mentoring involves both group mentoring and one-on-one support.

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South Shore Drill Team

“These kids are leaders who demonstrate empowerment and dedication. They represent Chicago and counter negative stereotypes of our young people portrayed as victims or perpetrators. To see these beautiful kids performing with such focus, confidence, and skill always makes us proud,”

Antigone Blackwell, Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations.

Nationally known for their electrifying precision-drilling and wide range of dance, South Shore Drill Team, performs at more than 85 events each year. The Drill Team regularly performs across the country at prestigious events including two Presidential Inaugurations, NBA All-Star game, Walt Disney World, and the Kentucky Derby.

Founded in 1980 with a handful of neighborhood children, South Shore Drill Team serves 300 young people, ages 8-21. The group uses the performing arts to engage urban youth throughout their critical teenage years, mitigating the dangers of drugs and violence, and guiding members toward completing their education and career goals. For over 40 years, the team has operated in areas of high need on the City’s South Side, providing opportunities for young people from low-income families.

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South Shore Drill Team
Center at Sierra Health Foundation

The Center at Sierra Health

“It’s not that we have more challenged kids, it’s that we have challenged systems resistant to change. What previously was treated solely as children’s behavioral issues need to also be viewed as policy issues for systems.”

Chet Hewitt, Sierra Health President and CEO

In 2014, Sacramento, CA became one of the first cities to respond to the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge. In the following years, a series of convenings such as the Sacramento Local Action Summit in 2015, the MBK workforce convening, and the annual BMOC Conference in 2016 created the alignment to formally establish the MBK coordinating committee. In 2018, with fifty organizations, philanthropy, educational, and municipal leaders at the table, The Center at Sierra Health Foundation (The Center) published the MBK Sacramento guide to action that outlined policies and procedures to change or strengthen in four impact areas that would serve as the blueprint for the historic systems change to date.

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RYSE

“Our North star is that young people feel loved and that systems love our people. That means some systems got to go and we have to build the ones we all deserve.”

Kanwarpal Dhaliwal, RYSE Director

Guided by the principles of healing, justice, decolonization, reparations, and liberation, RYSE centers youth and the assumption that all are deserving in groundbreaking coalitional work that provides convening space, awareness of self, and systems transformation.

Through RYSE, young people are collaborating with the Office of Neighborhood Safety to set guiding principles that affirm youth. They are teaching teachers in the school district how to create trauma informed healing space or how to creatively integrate math and arts together. They moved the school district to change public comment to the beginning of Board meetings to prioritize youth participation instead of at the end where it was often cut short for time. And soon, they will be gathering in their own state-of-the-art Ryse Commons facility to house the work to come.

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ryse
Orlando Community and Youth Trust

Orlando Community and Youth Trust

“We want to be the people to fall back on. We’re creating a holistic approach to make sure all the needs of the youth are met and to see the community rise as a whole… If you’re behind the eight ball in the equity conversation, you’re not thinking about what you’re doing after you graduate. You’re just hoping you graduate.”

Abe Morris, Director of MBK Orlando

With the support of My Brother’s Keeper, Orlando Community and Youth Trust expanded its youth programming delivery from temporary Americorps Vista to two full-time staff members. A $1,000,000 investment by the city allowed it to expand its evidence-based mentoring program to four city neighborhoods, five middle schools, and seven recreation centers touching 450 youth in the past year.

To make graduation more likely and to identify community needs, the staff of Orlando Community and Youth Trust built a three tiered listening approach. In addition to available data, it adds direct community input, observations from partners at neighborhood-serving organizations, and policy and system-wide insights from city and County leadership.

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New Life Chicago

“We have a long way to go toward peace but we’re taking the right steps and building the right relationships… What policymakers can do is listen more deeply to the young people and the frontline organizations.”

Benny Estrada

New Life pairs their direct programming with systems change work in order to improve the communities wellbeing. They are one of four anchor organizations of Justice Rising, an initiative which aims to transform the juvenile justice system in Chicago. They worked to close down St. Charles and Warrenville juvenile justice centers, and work to create alternatives to youth detention, address disproportionate minority contact, and decrease criminalization of students’ in schools and increase restorative justice practices.

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New Life Centers of Chicagoland
NACA Inspired Impact

NACA Inspired Schools Network

“I would say, a main focus is strengthening and deepening cross movement relationships between organizations in Albuquerque that have a focus on social justice, the strengthening of those relationships has helped us move forward some of the system change work that we have done.”

Maȟpíya Black Elk, Community Impact Leader, My Brothers Keeper Albuquerque, NACA Inspired Schools Network.

The flagship school, NACA, was established in 2006 and the Network of Inspired Schools was created in 2013. The NACA Inspired Schools Network (NISN) works with students, families, and educators to create a network of schools that are responsive to the needs and aspirations of surrounding communities. By providing rigorous academics in an educational setting that celebrates community, cultural identity, and diversity, NISN is removing systemic barriers to educational parity in order to give all youth access to leadership opportunities, higher education, stable careers, and sustainable livelihoods. NISN’s years of experience and lessons learned led to the development of a one of a kind  Social Emotional Learning Framework Opens in a new tab , that aims to create healthy, safe, supportive, and joyful schools, students, and families.

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Mass Mentoring Partnerships

“The ability for us to strengthen and expand on our relationships, is what I am most proud of. We have done this by being consistent. Consistent with our youth, our partners and our larger network. We are proud to be known as an agent of change”

Lily Mendez, President of the Mass Mentoring Partnership.

Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP), founded in 1992, fuels the movement to expand empowering youth-adult relationships across Massachusetts. They believe all young people have the right to have positive developmental relationships to reach their full potential. The Partnership serves over 275 mentoring and youth development programs, supporting more than 35,000 young people in mentoring relationships. They assess programmatic needs and organizational capacity and provide customized strategies that empower youth, families, and communities. Mass Mentoring Partnership is also working to highlight, connect, and convene people and organizations who are already mentoring boys and young men of color within the city. By offering training and technical assistance—and more importantly creating a community to share best practices—they’re working to break down barriers and toward policy and institutional change.

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Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP)
FOUR YEARS LATER

Liberty Hill

“I’ve never seen impacted individuals be centered the way I have in the last four years. We’ve reached some monumental systemic goals that will outlast the ‘sprint’ of MBK-LA’s two-year grant period, and we have built partnerships that will continue to bring to scale the changes we have all envisioned.”

Julio Marcial, Vice President of Programs and Policy at the Liberty Hill Foundation

With MBK funds, Liberty Hill’s leadership, and a groundswell of community support, LA County organizations and agencies transformed themselves into a robust and powerful network of support for struggling youth. Over a short period of time, the county drastically turned its focus away from criminal justice and toward youth development.

One of the greatest accomplishments is Ready to Rise, which grew from a $3.5 million pilot in 2019 to a $40 million public-private partnership today that seamlessly directs county youth justice money to proven youth development programs. This historic reform has allowed community-based programs to touch the lives of 15,000 youth since 2019 through mentoring, academic support, life skills sessions, family engagement, and other services.

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Change Happens

“We redefined what mentorship is. Before, mentoring involved the occasional meet up, text, or emails. Now it’s email, text, and phone conversations focused on emotional engagement.”

Steven Benson, Program Coordinator of Change Happens!

Change Happens, in collaboration with local partners, implements the  Each One of Us Opens in a new tab  mentoring program for approximately 82 boys and young men of color. One major goal of the program is to ensure mentees graduate high school, succeed in post-secondary, and achieve their personal goals. Speaking to the impact of the program Benson mentioned that this past year the program celebrated the achievements of 50 young men at a ceremony that included program alumni, the mentors and Mayor Jack Yates.

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MBK National Impact Community, Change Happens
The Lawndale Christian Legal Center

“When we started in 2010 we were just serving one kid at a time. In our first five years, we built a Community based-defense model based upon the express needs of the young people that came through our door. Transforming the criminal justice system wasn’t on our radar. About 7-8 years down the road, we realized we were onto something and it became clear that our work could have very serious system implications.”

Cliff Nellis, LCLC Executive Director

Founded in 2010, Lawndale Christian Legal Center’s (LCLC) mission is to provide legal services grounded in restorative justice for youth in the Lawndale area. In addition to legal services, LCLC provides vital wrap-around services including housing, social services, mentorship, employment and other positive options that are key to interrupting the cycle of recidivism.

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Black Family Development

“To save the people, you gotta serve the people. To lead the people, you got to love the people.”

Derek Blackmon, Program Manager

Led by Kenyatta Stephens, Kevin Bryant, and Derek Blackmon, the Black Family Development invests in mentor models and community building practices that provide positive examples to over 1,720 system-impacted youth and foster connections between stakeholders to create alternative pathways and safer circumstances.

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Black Family Development
Puerto Rico Community Foundation

Puerto Rico Foundation

“One big accomplishment was merging the efforts of organizations that have existed and collaborated for a long time, but had never really sat down and aligned their services to meet a shared goal. We now have a shared purpose and clear goals which has become our north star.”

Alana Feldman Soler, Community Coordinator Alliance for Peace

Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico Opens in a new tab  (Puerto Rico Community Foundation) was established in 1985 to develop the capacity of communities to achieve social and economic transformation by stimulating community philanthropic investments. The program is an expansion of Taller Salud’s Acuerdo de Paz (Peace Accord), Puerto Rico’s only tertiary community violence prevention program. The Foundation’s goals are divided across six strategic initiatives: (1) Food and Water, (2) Energy and Environment, (3) Housing, (4) Education, (5) Economic Development, and (6) Philanthropy.

The Alliance’s objectives include the reduction of contacts with the justice system; increasing the number of young people with High School Certificates; and increasing the number of youth who are involved in legal income activities. The initiative benefits young people 15 to 30 years old who live in the Pueblo, Medianía Baja and Medianía Alta neighborhoods of Loíz.

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African Empowerment Network

“We have hundreds of organizations & businesses that are working and collaborating with us, working with great alignment on focus areas. We’re focusing on cradle-to-career opportunities, improving wages, business development and home ownership.”

Willie Barney, longtime CEO

Established in 2006, the  African-American Empowerment Network Opens in a new tab  works together with residents and leaders to transform distressed neighborhoods and improve the economic condition and quality of life of African American citizens of Greater Omaha. The goal is to close long-standing gaps in employment, entrepreneurship, education, housing, and other factors to transform Omaha into a thriving & prosperous city, across every one of its zip codes and neighborhoods. What began as an ad hoc volunteer group in 2006, Empowerment Network has now grown to hundreds of organizations and businesses along with over 3,000 members. The Network model incorporates best practices and fresh insights from hundreds of years of African-American movements, strategies and blueprints.

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African-American Empowerment Network
Juma Ventures

Juma Ventures

“So many things play a role in a young person’s life and our role is to be an agent in the theory of change. We approach partnership and collabs humbly, we are here for youth first. Also no work is small to come in the way of Juma achieving the goals, We are willing to play any role necessary for young black men and young men of color…We wish to create a network through which impact can be additive and not duplicative.”

Adriane Armstrong, CEO, Juma

Juma Venure’s story is a unique one. Started in 1993 with a single Ben & Jerry’s Shop in San Francisco, Juma was designed to give homeless youth the job experience they need to transition from the streets to a stable adulthood.

Their model has a simple mission: breaking the cycle of poverty. They want to do it by paving the way to work, education, and financial capability for youth across America. Their focus is to provide youth opportunities for employment, education, financial capability, and career support services. Since 2016, they have grown to six centers across the nation, including one center in Atlanta.

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BUILD

“We make sure that everybody treats the young people with that same level of respect, no matter where we are. We make sure that we’re talking to them in a way that makes them feel like they’re part of a community and integrated into all parts of our organization – so they feel a sense of belonging, and ownership.”

Carmen Scott-Boria, Director of Enrichment Services

For over 50 years, Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development (BUILD), Inc. has worked across Chicago’s West Side, giving youth alternatives to the violence that surrounds them and pulls so hard. BUILD’s official mission is to “inspire hope and offer opportunities so youth facing systemic obstacles can achieve positive futures,” seeking to empower and support young men to realize their own potential and become leaders among their peers. This made them an exceptional fit to create and lead the Apprentice Mentor Program – a pilot project that trained and prepared boys and young men of color to become the next generation of mentors for Chicago’s youth.

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Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development (BUILD)