1st Graduating Class of AAMI!
Our 2019 graduates include: Pedro Gonzalez, Yukail Tucker, Kevin Mendoza, Dorien Porter, Ian Keen, and Joshua Lawson.
Statistics show that boys growing up in poverty generally have fewer caring adults in their lives than normal. The average child growing up in poverty stays within an eight mile radius of their homes until they turn 13 years old. Many of the students that we served were in poverty and in attendance at Wiley Elementary. Wiley Elementary has a 122% poverty rate. Poverty is a daily reality for 100% of the boys that we’d work with. Most of the boys in our program experienced limited access to environments that cultivate social skills, academic background knowledge and cultural enrichment. Also, less than 25% of the boys at Wiley were proficient in both math and reading.
Because of their circumstances, many of our boys came into AAMI facing significant challenges. Over the years we encountered a number of participants who were in situations where expectations of them were extremely low. For a number of reasons, we encountered a number of participants who regularly expressed anger and violence when faced with confrontation. One of our boys received a gunshot wound during his Sophomore year in high school. We had multiple boys whose fathers were incarcerated. We had a participant in our group whose father was deported and another male in his life who was deported. One of our participants went back to his home country for one year and did not attend school during that time. There were participants apart of our program who were working third shift while attending school. One of our participants became extremely sick which caused the young man to have to work long hours to pay bills for the household.
CIS brokered a number of relationships with the community to support students in securing basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. We introduced the boys to multiple mentors over 8 years who made weekly contacts with them. We exposed the boys to a plethora of enrichment activities and experiences. We were very intentional about presenting our participants to a vast number of job shadowing and career exploratory opportunities. CIS provided many of the participants with their first paid work experience.
Of course, the boys have demonstrated a tremendous transformation! We just celebrated our first graduating class of AAMI! Three of our participants enrolled into college. Three of our participants are gainfully employed in the Greensboro, NC community. All of these young men are well rounded adults; very capable of advocating and marketing themselves!
For more information about AAMI:
The African American Male Initiative