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The promising early outcomes of Yonkers’ My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) program are well-known across New York State.

Now, the program is getting national attention. My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, an initiative of the Obama Foundation, recognized the Yonkers program as a model for expanding evidence-based initiatives to reduce youth violence, grow effective mentorship programs, and measurably improve the lives of boys and young men of color. Yonkers was one of 19 programs in the country to be recognized.

“After an exhaustive application and review process we have identified a cohort of communities and organizations we believe can show the nation what it takes to build safe and supportive communities where boys and young men of color can thrive,” Michael D. Smith, Executive Director of MBK Alliance and Director of Youth Opportunity Programs at the Obama Foundation said in a press release. “The MBK Alliance team is committed to providing these communities with the tools, support, and access they need to accelerate impact that not only meets urgent needs today but that tackles the systemic barriers that prevent too many of our children from achieving their dreams.”

As part of the recognition, the Nepperhan Community Center, which is a partner in the program, will receive funding and organizational assistance to work with 250 young men of color in collaboration with the Yonkers Public Schools, City of Yonkers and the local YMCA SNUG/Cure Violence program.

President Obama established MBK in February 2014 to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color and to ensure all youth can reach their full potential.

In 2016, New York became the first state to enact an MBK initiative into law, committing $20 million to programs aimed at supporting boys and young men of color. The New York State Education Department and Board of Regents continue to invest in the initiative. That investment has secured more resources to ensure equitable access to high quality schools and programs, comprehensive support services, and family and community engagement. It also aims to support students with differentiated and culturally responsive programs.