$400,000 Over Two Years to Improve Life Outcomes for 250 Boys and Young Men of Color
The Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance initiative has selected The Nepperhan Community Center, Inc. as one of 10 “National Impact Communities” – the highest award tier of its inaugural MBK Community Challenge Competition. Overall, 19 organizations from 10 states and Puerto Rico were chosen to share a total of $5 million, including nine “Seed Communities.”
All are “national models to expand evidence-based initiatives to reduce youth violence, grow effective mentorship programs, and measurably improve the lives of boys and young men of color,” according to the Obama Foundation.
The Nepperhan Community Center will receive technical assistance, training opportunities and $400,000 over two years. In partnership with the City of Yonkers, Yonkers Public Schools, Yonkers MBK and Yonkers YMCA’s SNUG/Cure Violence program, Nepperhan will provide group mentoring, case management and other services to 250 boys and young men of color in Yonkers as well as establish an MBK Alliance Community Coordinator.
“I cannot express in strong enough terms my gratitude and appreciation to the Obama Foundation for demonstrating their confidence in our agency and the City of Yonkers, to be one of the award recipients of the Obama Foundation’s National Impact grants,” said Rev. Dr. Jim Bostic, Executive Director, Nepperhan Community Center. “It is and always has been the strength of our collaborations that has allowed us to do this work in an impactful way. A big thank you to our Mayor Mike Spano, our Schools Superintendent Dr. Edwin Quezada, Shawyn Howard, the CEO of the YMCA, Louis Molina, Deputy Commissioner of Corrections, the Faith-based community, and all our community partners. This award helps us to change the playing field in this space and have an even greater impact on our boys and young men of color.”
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, who accepted former President Barack Obama’s national My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge in 2016, thus creating Yonkers MBK said, “By awarding this MBK Community Challenge Competition grant to the Nepperhan Community Center, the only recipient in New York State, the Obama Foundation is validating Yonkers’ commitment and fortitude in ensuring the future of our young men of color.” He added, “We are grateful to have the opportunity to support the Nepperhan Community Center in the implementation of this grant, in partnership with Yonkers Public Schools, the YMCA and Yonkers MBK, which has changed the trajectory of countless lives under the steadfast leadership of Dr. Jim Bostic of the Nepperhan Community Center and Superintendent of Yonkers Schools, Dr. Edwin Quezada. Thank you to the Obama Foundation for helping all of us build ladders of opportunity for our students together.”
Yonkers MBK, now beginning third year, has established active chapters in Yonkers’ eight high schools and a rapidly growing number of middle and elementary schools. Dozens of dynamic programs and activities focus on building brotherhood, fostering meaningful mentor relationships, opening pathways to social capital and, most importantly, supporting MBK’s six foundational milestones.
Dr. Edwin M. Quezada, Superintendent of Schools and Co-Chair of Yonkers MBK with Rev. Dr. Bostic shared his colleagues’ conviction in the power of collaboration. “In urban communities, we must educate children using a model where the Mayor, intentional community-based organizations and the public schools work together to educate all students, especially young men of color, who have been underserved in our country,” Dr. Quezada said. “This honor highlights the magnificent collaboration we have here in Yonkers. We are grateful to the Obama Foundation for recognizing our work. We look forward to continuing the significant progress of Yonkers MBK, championed by Mayor Mike Spano and Rev. Dr. Jim Bostic, Executive Director of the Nepperhan Community Center.”
Yonkers Board of Education President Rev. Steve Lopez added, “We are grateful to the Obama Foundation whose support not only strengthens Yonkers’ collaborative efforts to improve life outcomes for young men of color; it uplifts the families of these young men as well, creating a ripple effect to benefit future generations.”
Programming supported by the Obama Foundation grant will include group mentoring, case management, and wrap-around support services. Group mentoring sessions will aim to provide participants with tools and skills to improve their social, emotional, educational, and financial well-being as well as violence prevention, conflict management, mediation, and problem-solving strategies. These sessions will be led by staff from SNUG/Cure Violence, a program of the Yonkers YMCA and a national model for reducing urban violence.
“The YMCA of Yonkers is proud to serve as a partner of the Nepperhan Community Center, City of Yonkers and the Yonkers School District as a recipient of the Obama Foundation MBK Grant,” said Shawyn Patterson Howard, Yonkers YMCA President and CEO. “We are committed to strengthening the foundation of our community through intentionally and strategically providing prevention, intervention and restorative supports and services to young men of color. Our young men are leaders. We must be unapologetic in providing equitable opportunities for them to succeed, thrive and lead. Congratulations Dr. Bostic, Mayor Spano and Dr. Quezada for your leadership in this effort. We are #BetterTogether.”
Louis A. Molina, Deputy Commissioner, Westchester County Department of Correction said, “It is an honor to partner with Dr. Bostic and the Nepperhan Community Center, Inc. (NCC), as one of the National Impact Communities awardees of the Obama Foundation My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge. NCC has been partnering with Westchester County Department of Correction (WCDOC) on delivering enhanced programing that with the support of the Obama Foundation will truly redirect the life course for young men of color, that through adverse childhood experiences have become involved in the criminal justice system. The award of this grant gives NCC and WCDOC a chance at breaking this cycle and preventing the transfer of their adverse experiences to the next generation of young men of color.”
Founded in 1938, the Nepperhan Community Center provides a safe, nurturing environment where the educational, social, spiritual, and emotional needs of children of all ages are addressed. The Community Center offers academic enrichment and cultural arts sessions; sports activities; and workshops focusing on building self-esteem, self-confidence, conflict resolution, and team building.