White House Pushes Faith, Community Leaders for Youth Program

Image: White House Pushes Faith, Community Leaders for Youth Program President Barack Obama meets with the My Brother's Keeper Task Force to receive a 90-day report on its progress in the Roosevelt Room of the White House May 30, 2014. (Getty Images)

Saturday, 31 May 2014 08:01 AM

By Melissa Rogers

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In February, as part of his plan to make 2014 a year of action focused on expanding opportunity for all Americans, President Barack Obama unveiled the "My Brother’s Keeper" initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.

During the launch, the president established the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, with a mandate to determine which public and private efforts are working and how to expand them; how the federal government can better support these efforts; and how to better involve state and local officials, the private sector, and the philanthropic community.

The My Brother’s Keeper Task Force on Friday released its 90-day report. This report includes key indicators that provide a comprehensive view of the environments and outcomes for boys and young men of color and their peers. It also contains recommendations on steps our society can take to begin to expand opportunity for all in areas, including:
  • Entering school ready to learn
  • Reading at grade level by third grade
  • Graduating from high school ready for college and career
  • Completing post-secondary education or training
  • Successfully entering the workforce
  • Reducing violence and providing a second chance
While the administration is identifying programs and policies that work, the president is also calling on Americans interested in getting involved in My Brother’s Keeper to sign a pledge to become long-term mentors to young people at http://www.whitehouse.gov/my-brothers-keeper. This effort will engage Americans from all walks of life to develop sustained and direct mentoring relationships that will play vital roles in the lives of young people. Faith and community leaders in particular know that all children need and deserve caring adults who are engaged in their lives.

Friday’s report is just the first step. In coming weeks and months, leading foundations will independently announce specific commitments to help ensure young people can succeed.

Further, the recommendations identified by the president’s task force mark the starting point of what will be a long-term effort — on the part of public, private, and philanthropic actors — that will continue well beyond this initial 90-day progress report. We look forward to continuing to work with faith and community leaders on these important issues.

Melissa Rogers is Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

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