A Brother’s Keeper

 The stereotype is burned into our minds. It appears that the black men of today can not escape the judgmental scrutiny of society but a mentoring program called My Brother’s Keeper has the potential to better the black man’s image by starting to fix the problem early in schools. The program can even help decrease these staggering statistics;53% of African American males drop out of high school according to the Massachusetts based Schott Foundation on Public Education.

“I’m going to be starting it [The My Brother’s Keeper program] this year,” Assistant Principal Jason Pollock said,  “I’ve already talked to a few students. I got the idea from Wade Hampton High School. It’s basically going to change the perception of young black males, the perception that is usually not positive. I want to take students that are already displaying great demeanor and great character and use them to influence and mentor others to get to that level of being productive citizens.”

The My Brother’s Keeper program puts emphasis on the idea of young African American males having a positive role model. Sophomore Jason Maxwell’s role model is a basketball player because of his influence in the community, whereas senior Abbey Gradey’s role model is her father. With this in mind there are multiple characteristics that make up a good role model.

Abbey said, “My dad’s a good role model because we have the same beliefs and morals and he works hard. He’s very independent.”

Not everyone looks to their family for moral guidance and even adults have those that they aspire to be like.

“My number one role model would be Jackie Robinson, he’s a guy that I idolize because of what he had to endure to become the first African American baseball player and [because of] the trials and tribulations that he went through, the things he had to face to overcome and be what he was and do what he did. ”

The My Brother’s Keeper program will be a club. They will do fundraisers and community service to help promote the organization. In order to join students must be nominated by the school’s staff and teachers.

Pollock said, “Hopefully the students that have found success in Dutch Fork High School already will give guidance to those struggling with the transition of coming in to High School and hopefully change the trend of the failure rate that we have pretty great with our African American males.”

Considering that young black males are not always viewed in a positive light this program is capable of enhancing the image that they have.

“If they didn’t have models they’d have nothing to build of of or live up to. We don’t have enough African American role models. Most African American males don’t grow up with their mothers and fathers so they probably need someone in their life to grow up and have someone to look up to,” Freshman Myles Rauch said.

Jason agrees.

I feel that African Americans unless they are successful are not viewed as highly as other people. Most of us are doing wrong things. We’re not viewed highly because we’re not doing the best that we could and we’re frowned upon because of that.

Pollock believes that the program will be a success and even sheds light on the fact that being a model is not to be taken lightly.

“Not everyone is out for glitter and gold some people have goals they actually want to accomplish and have some goals in mind that they want to get done. [To be a model] You’ve got to be willing to help others and give up yourself to help others.”

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