Bronx Campus Welcomes 225 Local High School Students for Annual My Brother's Keeper Event

The Mintz Auditorium on the Bronx campus was abuzz with great energy this morning as approximately 225 local high school students participated in the College’s annual "My Brother’s Keeper" (MBK) program.

Twelve high schools from across the Bronx, Manhattan, Harlem, and Schenectady were invited to attend this year’s MBK event.

This year’s theme – “Finding Your Voice and Your Why” – served to remind the students in attendance that having big dreams is important – but staying focused on making them come true is even more so.

President Marc Jerome opened the two-hour empowerment program with a very special guest speaker. David Banks, the New York City Schools Chancellor, shared inspiring words via Zoom about the importance of having the confidence, determination, and resilience to “rise above the storm like an eagle” when obstacles get in the way of their academic, personal, and professional goals. The students were clearly impressed by his words and touched that he took time out of his busy day to speak with them.

George Patterson, the New York City Department of Education’s Senior Director who oversees the My Brother’s Keeper and My Sister’s Keeper Programs in the schools, led the program with President Jerome as emcee.

Other rousing speakers included College staff members Allen Jenkins, Emilio Wilson-King, and Carlos Ortega, all of whom first came to Monroe many years ago as students. They shared their personal journeys to college and beyond, and spoke candidly about mistakes made and the decisions they made to get back on track.

The final presentation of the day highlighted matters of financial literacy and smart money management. Larry Belton, Jr., Director of Accounting Programs at the College, led that enlightening conversation.

Microphones were set up in the auditorium to enable the students to share their stories, dreams, and concerns throughout the event. Many were excited to do so, finding positive support and strength among each other.

The College offers the MBK event each year at no charge to the high schools or the students’ families. Lunch was provided at the end of the program.

The national My Brother's Keeper initiative began in 2014 to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by young people of color. Launched by then-President Barack Obama, its mission is dedicated to helping all young people achieve their potential through educational equity, mentorship, and through community collaborations to solve problems and strengthen outcomes for boys and young men of color.

Monroe began offering male empowerment programming in 2009, albeit under a different name, to help combat declining college enrollment and completion rates for urban minority men.

The My Brother’s Keeper program is held each spring on the College’s Bronx campus. A similar My Sister’s Keeper program will be held for young high school women on March 20th.

Our thanks to all who attended this year's My Brother's Keeper event!