Education

Youngstown-Warren Joins My Brother’s Keeper Effort

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WARREN, Ohio — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, joined U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, Monday to launch an initiative in the Mahoning Valley intended to prepare male minority students for college by linking them with adult mentors.

The initiative, My Brother’s Keeper Ohio, was presented at a press event Monday at the Trumbull Campus of Kent State University.

Among those present were Mayor Doug Franklin and Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally.

“My Brother’s Keeper Ohio leads the nation in My Brother’s Keeper initiatives,” Brown said. “We target young boys. In Ohio, it’s mostly with African-American boys.”

My Brother’s Keeper is similar to other initiatives in Mahoning Valley, such as Inspiring Minds and Big Brothers Big Sisters. “There’s always kids that need help, especially
when they enter seventh and eighth grade, to bring them along and so that people make good choices,” Brown said.

Speaking to boys the initiative is intended to help, Ryan said it recognizes how “we learn from each other, and so we are here to help because we believe in you,” he said. “Those of us in government, leadership and education [want] to provide you with an opportunity to grow and become the best you can be.”

Added Franklin, “While the United States has a little less than 5 percent of the world’s population, we incarcerate 25 percent of the total prison population around the world. That’s why we are here today. This is the most important challenge we’ve ever faced, it’s saving our young people.”

Two years ago, President Barack Obama issued the MBK challenge to cities throughout the United States, since accepted by 200 mayors, county executives and Native American tribal leaders.

The initiative’s six goals seek to ensure:

  • That all children enter school cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally ready.
  • That all children read at third-grade grade level by third grade.
  • That all youth graduate from high school.
  • That all youth complete post-secondary education or training.
  • That all youth out of school are employed.
  • That all youth remain safe from violent crime.

In Ohio, Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Toledo, Lorain, Mansfield, Dayton, Columbus and the Youngstown-Warren area have accepted the MBK challenge, a spokeswoman for Brown said.

Pictured: Deryck Toles, Jalaya Provitt, Willy Chatman, Zarien Emerson and Patsy Koubas.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.