MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (May 10, 2018) – D’Mario-Lee Budhi and Juan Franco, juniors at Nellie A. Thornton High School, were inducted into the inaugural class of My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Fellows last week. The students, selected by the Mount Vernon City School District, were among 36 young men representing 18 school districts across New York State.
The State Education Department launched the Fellows program to provide the next generation of New York State decision-makers with authentic leadership opportunities in government, education and business. The induction ceremony was part of the second annual My Brother’s Keeper Statewide Symposium held in Albany, N.Y. Budhi and Franco, along with their mentors Dr. Gabriel Wade and Mr. Alan Gonzalez, attended the two-day symposium on the MBK initiative.
“Witnessing these two young men commit to serving their community while broadening their leadership skills is why the District whole-heartedly accepted former President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Challenge nearly two years ago,” said Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton, Mount Vernon City School District Superintendent. “MBK is an endeavor that allows our schools and our city to collaborate to meet the needs of all students and the greater Mount Vernon community.”
The Northeast Anesthesiology Services and MBK Mentor Dr. Gabriel Wade will provide a 4-6-month fellowship for both Budhi and Franco. Together, the Fellows and mentors will focus on the overarching goals of the MBK Fellows, as well as the development of a plan to address racial disparities related to nutrition and health among school-age children.
The Fellows will aim to achieve the following objectives:
• Examine research which links good health with school achievement.
• Identify age groups and neighborhoods most valuable to the effects of poor nutrition, addressing racial health disparities and food distribution patterns.
• Design plan for researching policy and decision-makers, including adults in families; community leaders, such as those involved in the Mount Vernon Community Garden; as well as food providers, especially in grocery stores and school food programs.
• Share planning and implementation with neighborhood residents, including children.
The purpose of the mentorship is to provide guidance for the service project, ensuring that the project conforms to the NYS MBK Initiatives and Milestones. The mentorship will also expose the MBK Fellows to the world of policy-making, legislation, community service, civic engagement, entrepreneurship and other valuable learning experiences.
Budhi and Franco’s service project will address the following MBK Milestones:
• Expand prevention, early warning, and intervention services.
• Respond to structural and institutional racism.
• Make comprehensive and coordinated support services widely available.
• Engage families and communities in a trusted and respectful way.
The Fellows will also be a part of a statewide MBK Fellows Workgroup, which will give them the chance to offer input on the creation and implementation of a statewide MBK Mentoring Network.
My Brother’s Keeper, established by former President Obama, aims to ensure that the nation’s boys and young men of color have equal opportunities to achieve academic and social success and prosperity. The mission of the Mount Vernon MBK Alliance is to make the American dream available to all boys and young men of color as a priority, and to all students of the Mount Vernon City School District overall.
About the Mount Vernon City School District
With more than 8,000 students in 16 schools, the Mount Vernon City School District is committed to providing a quality education to its children as well as developing programs that meet the diverse academic and social needs of its students.