12 Sep Five Steps to Empowering Young Men of Color

I remember sitting with each of these young men in my office throughout the three years they attended Mott Hall Bridges Academy​. Some were often misunderstood because they appeared angry, defiant, and disinterested in school. But the reality was that many were being raised in single family homes without a father figure or repeated a grade because our education system may have failed them. All they ever wanted was to be “seen” beyond the stereotypes and have someone BELIEVE in their capabilities. It wasn’t easy to convince them of their value or potential, but with the support of their family who trusted my team and I, they are now freshman in high school.

Here are some quick tips to empowering our young people:

1. Find mentors who can serve as role models.

2. Conduct field trips for them to see the landscape beyond their community – neighborhood walks, cultural institutions, college visits, organizations, etc.

3. Speak positive words into their spirit:
• You are intelligent!
• You are significant!
• You are outstanding!
• You are remarkable!
• You are capable!

4. Create networking opportunities that include guest speakers, real world experiences, and offer workshops that will prepare them for the real world.

5. Don’t ever allow them to think they can never be successful–EVER!

There is still work to do, but no matter how far they go, my young men will always remain young kings in my heart!

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