CANTON, OH – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) helped launch a local initiative to help prepare students for college and career readiness in Stark County today. Brown joined community leaders and a group of Stark County mentors and mentees during a community kick-off event at McKinley High School.
“We need a strategy to allow all our children to reach their full potential,” said Brown. “Today we are challenging the Stark County community to build on the work they are already doing to ensure that all our children – regardless of their zip code or the color of their skin – have the opportunity to succeed.”
Monday’s kick-off precedes the upcoming Fame Fathers Walk that encourages male caregivers and mentors in northeast Ohio to walk or drive their students to school in support of education.
“I can look back at many influential people in my life who served as mentors and helped me become the person I am today,” said Canton School District Superintendent Adrian Allison. “I am thankful to those family members, preachers, and community leaders who took the time to care, set an example, and offer guidance. I hope this initiative will inspire others to mentor our young people.”
The My Brother’s Keeper initiative works to connect male students of color with community leaders through mentoring relationships and educational events. This program is aligned with the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative and its goal to ensure that all youth receive a quality high school education and graduate with the skills and tools needed to advance to postsecondary education or training.
In September 2014, President Obama issued a challenge to cities across the country to become “MBK Communities.” This challenge represents a call to action and encourages communities to implement a coherent cradle-to-college-and-career strategy for improving the life outcomes of all young people to ensure that they can reach their full potential, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or the circumstances into which they are born. Nearly 200 mayors, tribal leaders, and county executives across 43 states and the District of Columbia have accepted the MBK Community Challenge.
The six goals of the Challenge are:
- Ensuring all children enter school cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally ready;
- Ensuring all children read at grade level by 3rd grade;
- Ensuring all youth graduate from high school;
- Ensuring all youth complete post-secondary education or training;
- Ensuring all youth out of school are employed; and
- Ensuring all youth remain safe from violent crime.
Community leaders can lay the groundwork for an MBK Community in four steps:
1. Accept the President’s Challenge.
2. Convene a “Local Action Summit” to build an MBK Community.
3. Conduct a policy review and form recommendations for action.
4. Launch a plan of action, next steps, and a timetable for review.
Immediately following the launch event, Brown convened a roundtable of mentors and mentees to discuss efforts to build and expand the mentoring program in Stark County.