Yonkers My Brother’s Keeper Hosts Youth Development Expert

  • Expanding Slate of MBK Programs to include Taking Off the Mask Workshop with Ashanti Branch

    YONKERS, NY – As part of Yonkers Public Schools’ expanding roster of dynamic My Brother’s Keeper programs, youth development expert Ashanti Branch will share his nationally recognized empowerment workshop with more than 150 Yonkers’ high school and middle school students on February 24, 2020.

    “We constantly seek opportunities to help our students achieve at high levels and know that social and emotional development supports this goal,” said Dr. Edwin M. Quezada, Superintendent of Schools and Co-Chair of Yonkers My Brother’s Keeper (MBK).  “We are thrilled to have Mr. Branch in Yonkers to share his impactful workshop with Yonkers’ magnificent young men.”   

    Since Yonkers joined the national My Brother’s Keeper movement in 2016, dozens of engaging programs have been created in Yonkers Public Schools and around the community to close persistent opportunity gaps facing young men of color. Nearly 20 schools now have active MBK chapters offering mentorship, leadership development and a variety of skill building opportunities.

    The Taking off the Mask workshop is designed to help youth and adults engage in honest conversations, giving them a deeper understanding of themselves and each other. Created by Ashanti Branch, Founder and Executive Director Oakland Ca.-based The Ever Forward Club, it was featured in The Mask You Live In an award-winning documentary exploring harmful hypermasculine expectations placed on men and boys. 

    Yonkers MBK school chapters have incorporated lessons from the workshop into their meetings and last year sent more than 100 paper masks created during these sessions to The Ever Forward Club to support its #100KMasks campaign, which makes the workshop available for educators to use all over the world. 

    “I’m grateful the young men of Yonkers have found meaning in this work and have shared it with others,” Mr. Branch said. “I’m excited to meet them in person and deepen our connection.”


    WHO:        Ashanti Branch Executive Director of The Ever Forward Club
                     Dr. Edwin M. Quezada, Superintendent of Schools and Yonkers MBK Co-Chair
                     MBK students Gorton High School, Palisade Preparatory School, Enrico Fermi School and School 16

    WHAT:      Taking off the Mask Empowerment Workshop

    WHEN:      Monday, February 24, 2020
                      9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

    WHERE:    Gorton High School
                     100 Shonnard Place
                      Yonkers, NY 10703


    Yonkers MBK is improving opportunities and life outcomes for thousands of young people in New York’s fourth largest city through effective leadership, community support and powerful partnerships. Yonkers Public Schools continues to lead the state’s cities in closing the educational achievement gap. In 2019, 88% of all Yonkers’ students graduated on time - 89% of Hispanic students did slightly better than the District overall and 14 percentage points higher than the state average;  83% of Black students graduated on time, 8 percentage points higher than the state..  The unified partnership of Yonkers MBK leaders -- Mayor Mike Spano and Yonkers MBK Co-Chairs Dr. Edwin M. Quezada, Superintendent of Schools, and Rev. Dr. Jim Bostic, Executive Director, Nepperhan Community Center -- has been recognized as a model by the Obama Foundation, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement and the New York State Education Department. For more information, visit www.yonkerspublicschools.org/mbk or follow us on social media @YonkersMBK.