YONKERS, N.Y. - Yonkers has become the latest Westchester County municipality to accept the call from the White House this week as they took on President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” challenge.
On Wednesday, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano was joined by Schools Superintendent Edwin Quezada, Jim Bostic of the Nerrhan Community Center and Yonkers Thrives to announce that they are accepting the challenge, which is designed to create opportunities for minority students and children.
“Yonkers proudly accepts the challenge set forth by our president to create a robust and thoughtful program to unlock the full potential of young men of color in Yonkers,” Spano said. “There are many young men who need help, who are not receiving positive reinforcement at home, or otherwise, and so it is incumbent on us as leaders in our communities to place them back on track so they can reach their full potential.”
Under the challenge, all children will be emotionally, socially and physically prepared to attend classes, with all children literate by the third grade. Other specific goals include ensuring that every youth graduates high school, completes post-secondary education and come out prepared for gainful employment.
“President Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge’ is a major step forward for Yonkers, which I believe in many ways is still suffering from the ravages of years of segregated schools, and it’s heretofore inability to effectively educate boys of color,” Bostic said.
“Educators constantly seek opportunities to engage our young men of color to achieve at high levels,” Quezada added. “What we have learned is that this work requires more than just great educators; it’s a challenge that must be embraced by the entire community.
“This initiative aligns with our work inviting citizens and businesses to open their hearts and contribute to the success of all students, helping them reach their full potential.”
Spano noted that “Yonkers has an advantage in accepting this challenge, as we already have a ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ backbone in place to ensure the success of the program and of our children.”
“Working with our community partners, we can build ladders of opportunity for these young men - inside and outside the classroom - by connecting them with mentors and help them achieve success.”