I am proud to announce that the City of New Rochelle and the City School District of New Rochelle have entered into a historic partnership designed to eliminate opportunity gaps, barriers, and challenges facing youth in our community, namely boys and young men of color. At the March 17th, 2015 council legislative meeting, an ordinance was unanimously passed to retain the services of a consultant to assist New Rochelle in creating an action plan for the “My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge”. The costs of the consulting services are not expected to exceed $20,000.00, of which the City School District will fund half.
On September 27th, 2014, President Obama announced that more than 100 mayors, county officials and tribal nations have accepted the “My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge”, an initiative to encourage community leaders across the country to develop plans to improve life outcomes and open up opportunities for all youth in our neighborhoods. Since then, other communities have signed on to this challenge on a rolling basis.
A White House report issued in May of 2014 identified six areas of focus that are critical to ensuring that youth can succeed from pre‐K all the way up through college and their careers – regardless of who they are, where they come from, or the circumstances into which they are born. Here in New Rochelle, we are looking to set our own goals and priorities, but the overarching goals recommended by that White House report are to ensure our young people are:
1. Entering school ready to learn;
2. Reading at grade level by third grade;
3. Graduating from high school ready for college and career;
4. Completing post‐secondary education or training;
5. Successfully entering the workforce;
6. Safe from violence and provided second chances.
To date in New Rochelle, there has already been an informal strategy session held at City Hall where representatives from our government, the City School District of New Rochelle, local colleges, Montefiore Hospital, the New Rochelle business community, several non-profits, faith based organizations, and other government agencies came together to outline some objectives.
The next steps for us are to:
1. Select and retain the services of a consultant;
2. Accept the challenge on behalf of New Rochelle;
3. Convene a “Local Action Summit” within 45 days of accepting the President’s challenge;
4. Conduct a policy review and form recommendations for action within 120 days of accepting the President’s challenge; and
5. Launch a plan of action, next steps, and a timetable for review within 180 days of accepting the President’s challenge.
While I realize that the above agenda is incredibly ambitious, I also believe that we have what it takes in New Rochelle to create a plan that can become a model for other communities across the nation. Please join in this process with us as we need a pure collaborative effort to make this succeed.
For more information on My Brother’s Keeper, click here: My Brother’s Keeper White House
For more information on the overall process that should ensue, click here: My Brother’s Keeper Groundwork