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Highschool Children

Our Story

Teaching young boys of color to become responsible men is a priority at MBK. Our cultures have always embraced the practice that men should teach boys how to become responsible men. The first organized practice of this discipline found its origin in West Africa and is called a rite of passage. The accountability that they shared as they mastered these practices formed a brotherhood: centralized codes and principles created to strengthen the bond of manhood. This first practice of organized brotherhood known as a fraternal order was founded in Kemet also known as Egypt.

Our shared vision for greatness can be seen by simply looking at the great accomplishments in our respective empires

These principles and practices of manhood can be traced back as far as the Cushite Empire. The culmination of this knowledge and wisdom brought forth our greatest efforts as master builders manifested as the great pyramids of Giza. This knowledge was passed on as we navigated our way into the Americas and beyond. We traded with the Olmecs, Toltecs, Aztec and the Mayan empires long before European conquers ever sailed to our shores.  Our shared vision for greatness can be seen by simply looking at the pyramids in our respective empires.

From Africa to South America to Mexico, the similarities of our cultures are amazing. Our Genius as master builders of structures and men still can’t be matched or explained to this day. These borrowed concepts gave birth to the current fraternal orders as well as the Greek letter organizations. After western invaders enslaved Africans and conquered the Latin world, our principles and practices were forcibly stripped from our people and altered to meet the needs of the dominant culture. 

The core of the MBK philosophy is based on fraternity, an organized brotherhood on a mission.

Fast forward to contemporary America and you will find similar practices in the mid 1800s, developed for prep schools and high schools. The first of such high school fraternities started in 1859 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It was called Torch and Dagger and it was designed to better prepare students for college level fraternities. During this period our ancestors were either conquered or enslaved, eliminating our children from the organized practice that began in their homeland. But as irony would have it, in 2014 the first black President of America, Barack Obama founded MY Brothers’ Keeper as an initiative to help boys of color transition from one life phase to another. An ancient but exceedingly successful practice was reintroduced. 

White House MBK National Summit - 12/14/16

In 2016, Rickie Clark accepted the challenge to lead the first ever school-based MBK program in partnership with Ft Worth Independent School District (FWISD) community schools and experienced immediate success in motivating boys of color. In December of the same year, Barack Obama invited innovative MBK programs to the White House for a summit to discuss initiatives and highlight successes. Rickie was selected to represent FWISD and on December 16 he met with other groups and departments to discuss what was working in their cities. From those discussions came the idea to create fraternities in high school to mirror the success of college fraternity students, and to this day the core of the MBK philosophy is based on fraternity - an organized brotherhood on a mission.

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Statement from our

Executive Director Rickie Clark

“My personal experience as a man of color gives me the tools to see beyond their behavior…< it is easier for them to identify with me because they see themselves in me. Although they may have a different set of circumstances, the overall experience for boys of color in public schools is similar across the country >…so it’s not just the color of my skin that allows me to relate, it’s also a shared perspective and a mutual respect.”

THE FOUR PILLARS OF MB&SK.

Attendance.

Regular school attendance is crucial for academic success, and it is also an indicator of future success in the workforce. These programs emphasize the importance of attending school regularly and on time, and work to address any barriers that may prevent students from attending school, such as transportation or health issues.

Academics.

Academic success is a key factor in a student's future success in the workforce. MBK and MSK programs provide academic support to students, such as tutoring and mentorship, to help them achieve their full potential. These programs also encourage students to take challenging courses and to prepare for college or other post-secondary opportunities.

Behavior.

Positive behavior is essential for academic success and for developing the social skills necessary to succeed in the workforce. MBK and MSK programs promote positive behavior by encouraging students to treat others with respect, to follow school rules, and to avoid behaviors that may lead to disciplinary action.

Community Involvement.

Community involvement is essential for developing leadership skills and a sense of civic responsibility. MBK and MSK programs encourage students to get involved in their communities through volunteer work, service projects, and other activities. This involvement helps students develop a sense of pride and ownership in their communities, and also helps them develop the skills necessary to become leaders in their communities.

Our Working Agreements

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Mentorship Summary 

Our purpose as mentors isn’t to just focus on academics, but also on emotional support. I have a deep respect for the youth I mentor, and in return, they respect me. For most of the youth I work with, I am the only man they trust to open up to about their emotions, and it makes a difference.


A toxic brand of masculinity that says boys and men are not supposed to exhibit emotion or feel pain has taken hold in our society—it has a debilitating and often violent effect. I have seen firsthand how a healthy masculine figure can counteract that narrative, and if we replicate that model, we might begin to heal people beyond just one neighborhood.


For boys in our program, behavior, attendance and grades all improve with the addition of a mentor who is focused as much on their mental and emotional well-being as on their academics.


SELF-CARE HAS TO BE A PRIORITY

In order for adults to be mentors and healers for youth, they must believe in healing and caring for themselves. I can do the work I do because I make self-care a priority. It took me burning out to realize that I had to help myself first in order to help others.


Trauma doesn’t stop manifesting once people hit adulthood. It is crucial for adults to explore their own trauma so that when they interact with students, they can focus on the child’s pain rather than projecting their own. Ideally, teachers and faculty could receive therapeutic support as part of their job.


Investing in mentors who are interested in caring for children as a whole—focusing on their psychological and emotional well-being as well as their academic achievement—is a key that can unlock the door to a brighter future for many of our youth

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