NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A new initiative for our youth hopes to create better opportunities for boys and young men of color in Nashville. "My Brothers Keeper Nashville Alliance" held its first meeting on Saturday.
The goal is to first focus on three key milestones that include reading at Grade Level by 3rd grade, graduating from high school ready for college and a career; and reducing violence and providing a second chance opportunities.
The men who showed up say it's all about providing the youth with a positive role model and mentor to guide them in the right direction.
"We come from the same neighborhoods, sometimes the same broken homes, we come from lesser education than most people would expect, but if you’re determined and you’re focused, and you put everything you had in what you’re trying to accomplish, your dreams can come true," said former NFL player Chris Hope.
Several youth and men of color of the community gathered at Creswell Middle Prep School of the Arts to launch this opportunity.
One organization who showed support was the REAL Program at the Oasis Center. There teens are involved in a 13-week program, where they engage about dreams, values, relationships, manhood, juvenile justice, and gangs.
Many of those teens wanted to be apart of the My Brother's Keeper Alliance as well.
"It’s telling me that I have to be a leader for each and everybody here today. They aren’t just my team, they’re a family to me; we’ve been together a long time and I got to show an example," said 15-year-old Paullion Spencer.
The teens say having a positive influence in their lives places them on the right path.
"By choice I chose to separate myself from what I’m using to seeing even from the negativity from the people I used to hang with," said Spencer.
The youth got a chance to share the impact having a mentor has had on their lives as well as participating in break out sessions to learn more about opportunities for success.
My Brother’s Keeper was started by President Barack Obama in 2014.