Local leaders committed to helping young men of color - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Local leaders committed to helping young men of color

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Michael Stewart, a Birmingham based poet and motivational speaker, works directly with these groups of young men. Michael Stewart, a Birmingham based poet and motivational speaker, works directly with these groups of young men.
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Compelled and motivated to address the achievement gap among young men of color, President Obama initiated "My Brother's Keeper."  The aim of the initiative is to give Black and Hispanic men a fair shot at a better life. 

"I had people who encouraged me, not just my mom and grandparents, but wonderful teachers and community leaders and they pushed me to work hard and study hard," said President Obama. 

Information released from the government shows young men of color overwhelming perform below proficiency standards on reading and math assessments.  Graduation rates are also well below those of their white counterparts and they are more likely to be involved in criminal activity. 
 
Michael Stewart, a Birmingham based poet and motivational speaker, works directly with these groups of young men. He provides mentorship and guidance.

"Over the years, I found out one of the biggest problems in their lives is the absence of their fathers in their lives," said Stewart. 

Stewart says historically African American fraternities and sororities, NAACP, and The National Urban League are addressing the problem with peer-to-peer mentoring programs. 
 
It's in these programs young boys learn what it takes to become successful men and how they too can give back. 

"I've already seen once you get men involved in the community things begin to change. I've already seen once you get men involved in terms of volunteering there's a big change," said Stewart. 

Stewart will perform a one man play called 'How a Black Man loves' April 12th at 8pm at the Carver Theatre.  Tickets to the performance are $25.00. Visit http://www.jazzhall.com/events.htm for more information. 

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