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Powering Potential with the African-American Male Initiative

05-09-2019 · Cole Society · African-American Partnership

Powering Potential with the African-American Male Initiative

AAP Partners with Georgia State University’s African-American Male Initiative

United Way of Greater Atlanta’s African-American Partnership (AAP) is committed to improving outcomes for African-American boys and young men in the metro area through partnerships that will increase educational opportunities and pathways to employment. AAP’s signature cause Powering the Potential of African-American boys and young men began in 2016 with a laser focus on literacy through the Build A Library project at six partner agency locations. Thanks to dramatic response from AAP stakeholders, increased fundraising and recommendations from program experts, the efforts have broadened beyond basic literacy to include additional learning opportunities targeted to support youth’s overall academic achievement and future success. Each site exposes youth to career pathways, including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), through career exploration, job training and work experiences.

AAP partners with the Georgia State University’s African-American Male Initiative (AAMI) at Booker T. Washington High School as one of the six sites in areas of low and very low child well-being in Atlanta. The mission of the Georgia State University African American Male Initiative (AAMI) at Booker T. Washington High School is to enhance the graduation rate of African-American males at Booker T. Washington High School while also increasing the number of diplomas conferred upon this population couched within a college access and readiness focus. With support from generous AAP members, AAMI provides a true STEM experience using digital literacy to address themes of Black male identity.

Recently, AAMI gave us an update on their work. The young men participate in discussions and activities twice a week covering topics that include the formation of Black male identity, spirituality, critiquing modern music, adjusting cultural lens about Africa, and interviewing and digital media training. Over the course of the school year, the students have fostered an environment that makes it acceptable for young men of color to be vulnerable and not feel ostracized.

AAMI has been able to leverage the Build A Library program to purchase books on various topics including subjects that have enhanced their media skills training like camera, editing, film, graphic novels, books on fantasy and anime. The students have developed their own graphic novels and film projects. This year, two veteran program members who are working to complete their comic book character origin stories, which they began last spring, delivered a presentation about the process for developing their comic origin stories at the Sources Conference hosted by the Georgia State University’s Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence.

Beyond their work on graphic novels, AAMI facilitators taught the young men about shot and angle composition. The young men were tasked with shooting a short-film utilizing the information from their lessons. They came together and completed the assignment within one hour. The short-film was edited and presented to them to show their accomplishment. Check out their video here. They will be utilizing their media skills at an upcoming career fair being held at Washington High School.

The young men were exposed to activities that went beyond the afterschool program on their school campus. Some of the young men went on college tours to Georgia State University and Clark Atlanta University. The group had the opportunity to complete unique teambuilding challenges at the Escape Room and the retreat at Georgia State’s Indian Creek Lodge.

You can be part of the great work happening at Booker T. Washington High School and AAMI. First, make a commitment to support United Way’s AAP which funds six sites in areas of low and very low child well-being in our region. Give now. Second, AAMI are looking for volunteers for their upcoming Summer Institute to chaperone field trips and discuss their education and career pathways with the students. Sharing your story could shine a powerful light ahead for these young men. Contact aap@unitedwayatlanta.org to coordinate a date and time.