Milwaukee Public Schools and a host of community groups are seeking mentors for a new campaign aimed at supporting young men of color dubbed “Saving Our Sons – I will not die young.”
“This is part of a larger initiative to increase students’ engagement in their school communities. We’re being proactive – creating school cultures in which students feel they have a vested interest,” Superintendent Gregory Thornton said. “The Saving Our Sons effort specifically is targeted at young men of color because of the alarming levels of violence in the community and the academic struggles – involving and affecting these young men.”
Future efforts will focus on young women and expanding the existing student leadership initiatives that have been successful in a handful of MPS schools.
The Saving Our Sons effort — launched at 10 a.m. on Friday, January 11 at the Coffee Makes You Black coffee shop, 2803 N. Teutonia Avenue, Milwaukee 53206 — is focused on increasing attendance, academic achievement and school engagement of at-risk students of color, while reducing suspension and incident rates.
100 Black Men of Milwaukee is offering training for volunteer mentors. Interested mentors are welcome to attend the event to learn more and/or sign up online for the training at: http://mps100.eventbrite.com. Questions can be directed to Heather Aschoff, MPS volunteer coordinator, at (414) 773-9823.
Through the creation of Saving Our Sons chapters at 10 MPS schools serving high-schoolers – Bradley Tech, Hamilton, Morse•Marshall, North Division, Pulaski, Riverside, Rufus King, South Division, Vincent and Washington Information Technology – mentors can actively work with students by helping them transform their lives academically, socially and culturally.
Flood the Hood with Dreams, Inc. will direct and facilitate each school chapter with the support of other community organizations, services and mentors.
Those that have already expressed interest in the effort include: Brotherhood of Firefighters; Greek Letter organizations; Gee’s Clippers; African World Festival group; Milwaukee Bucks; Running Rebels; Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines and Aldermen Joe Davis, Ashanti Hamilton and Willie Wade; Fatherhood Initiative; Earl Ingram; Eric Von; Peace for Change Alliance, Inc.; Pitts Funeral Home; Dr. Decoteau Irby; the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Numerous faith-based partners; and Milwaukee County Supervisors David Bowen, Nikiya Harris and Russell Stamper II.