African American Males at Washington Middle School need your help to continue getting much needed mentoring support and guidance from the Game Changers program. We need to raise $15K to “Finish Strong” for the school year and continue working with these young men through the summer.
A major focus of the summit was on addressing the needs of African American males in the Seattle Public School District, highlighting the work happening inOakland California under the leadership of Chris Chatmanwho was a keynote. The work in Oakland mirrors the work that we have been championing for the past 15 years in Seattle in schools, community centers and community based initiatives led by the Umoja PEACE Center, Africatown Center for Education of Innovation and other organizations.
On February 8th, myself and over 200 other Black menanswered a call for 100 Black Men to be present at South Shore middle school on National African American Parent Involvement Day. Not only did we answer the call, a month later, we launched Game Changers, a pilot program focused on engaging and empowering African American males at Washington Middle School. The pilot was supported by the Seattle Parks HOST Afterschool program and the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.
We were informed that 80% of African American boys were performing below grade level at Washington and we knew take more than the two hours of after school enrichment programming to have real impact on their achievement.
Game Changers goes the extra mile executing a comprehensive wrap-around support service that includes:
bridging gaps with teachers/school staff and parents
The young men have responded positively to our program model. As we have learned, these youth strongly want to participate in the program. Participation has grown from 8 to 25 students in a very short period of time due to peer, teacher and staff referrals. Many of the students have already shown improvements in grades, attendance and behavior.
What this shows is that African American men are a crucial part of the solution. These youth are responding to the care, guidance and teaching of African American men and now we need consistent support to move forward. We need to raise $15K to “Finish Strong” for the school year and continue working with these young men throughout the summer.
$2,500 will support staff, food and end of program activities to end the school year on an upward trajectory. $12,500 will support the summer program including program staff, tutors, youth stipends and meals, equipment and supplies. The youth will continue with tutoring for summer gains, fitness training, community service and learn to manage their own business.
Below you will find testimonials from students and parents based on the initial seven weeks of the program:
“This program has changed my son’s attitude and outlook on life. Being able to be around young men of his age group and working towards similar goals such as self-evaluation, self-control, and working to get and keep good grades....By giving him valuable information about community, health, finances and ways to go about achieving these things in positive ways and being driven to do it and be a great citizen of the community.”-- T. Mcdowell (Mother of Jayvon M. 7th grader)
“I would like to continue going to Game Changers next year because Game Changers has helped me with homework and showed lots of inspiration to me and others, they have lots of work out activities which makes it changing with a game of football.”--Jayvon Jayvon M. (7th grade)"Game Changers should continue because it has helped me turn all my homework in and encourages me to do better in school and my life."--Aron A. (8th grade)“Because they try to make us do better no matter what it is and they tell us important information so when we get older we already know.” --Terrel W. (6th grade)“Because Game Changers motivates me in life and in my school works. They are hard on me but it helps me because it keeps me up to beat so I don’t start to slack off."--Max M. (8th grade)"At its core, I feel Game Changers is men of color keeping young men of color accountable, encouraged, motivated & challenged. These boys respond more positively and readily to hard talk from men who look like them, obviously care about them (because they were them!) than they would to a well-meaning Caucasian teacher/administrator. My son comes home talking about school; the positive and negative experiences and interaction. Game Changers is always a positive interaction, except for one time, and in that instance, I agreed with the Game Changers staff that Max was not giving his 110%. They demand it from the boys, always. Max is learning grit and perseverance, soft skills he’ll need to do anything well in life. He’s learning the discipline of pushing his mental and physical capacities. And he’s having real world, real talk conversations with men of color about how to navigate school and the larger society as a Black man with integrity. And *Bonus! Max is being exposed to the adventure and challenge of working for oneself- entrepreneurship! This program is worth its weight in gold - it should be funded, promoted and supported!"--M. Michell Mattox (Mother of Max M. - 8th grade)
Raymond has been participating in the program for three weeks it’s obvious that his participation has helped give him a sense of identity and has reinforced the importance of academics for African American Males. He even had the opportunity to go to the UW…It helps give Raymond a sense of purpose and identity. Being able to interact w/ African American males who are successful and focus on academics is inspiring for him. I wish he could be involved with the program throughout his academic years. -- Crystal (Mother of Raymond G. - 8th grade)
Isaiah S. (8th Grade)
Because it’s a good program, it helps the kids that are struggling with grades or behavior
Game Changers has been very beneficial to my son and to his peers. It holds them accountable to someone else other than their parents. Its an encouraging and motivational environment. My son looks forward to attending weekly. -- Abigail S. (Mother Isaiah S. - 8th grade)
Its helping me keep track of my grades and my behavior changed in my classes. I stopped being late going to the bathroom turning in my homework and assignments. --Salih M. (8th grade)
To help me with my grades and do good in school. I want to be fit and improve in school. I also want to learn how to make money and help my family. -- Abdirizak H. (6th grade)
It helps me get my home work done and helps build our work ethic. Also we can know how to work out there. -- Natnael W. (8th grade)
Yes because he has been getting hes homework done and it has been keeping him grounded and challenged. -- (Mother Natnael - 8th grade)
By supporting Game Changers you are sending a message that our community is serious about closing the achievement gap and you are telling these youth that their success is important to the entire community.
Donations to this program are tax deductible as the Umoja Peace Center (UPC) is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization. Thank you in advance for your support!