Chionesu Bakari Program for Young Men (CB), headquartered at St. Paul Community Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY, was created to bridge the achievement and social gaps between young black males and society. Launched in July 2006, since its inception CB has offered young males between the ages of 8 and 18 group counseling, tutoring, finance education, undoing racism training, arts and media exposure, physical fitness & nutrition, non-violent conflict mediation/resolution, leadership development, Bible study and educational and recreational trips.
Despite the steady stream of reports that state at-risk, disadvantaged black males are more likely than others to repeat grades, score poorly on standardized tests, experience suspension from or drop our of schools, end up in prisons, etc., we’ve created a program that closes the professional, educational and social gap between young black males and society
A Swahili phrase meaning “Guiding Light of Noble Promise”, is engaged in the ministry of saving and developing young black males by reclaiming, renaming, renewing and reconditioning their minds. We strive to motivate young black male children to think critically and prepare their minds and the minds of their respective parents/guardians for the men they will grow to become.
Chionesu Bakari Program for Young Men serves young black males from various Brooklyn, NY communities (Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, Cypress Hills, Canarsie, East New York, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Fort Greene and Canarsie)—communities where gang activity and crime related incidents are on the rise, as well as Long Island and neighborhoods in Queens. Program staff also reside in the same areas.
This program is a collaboration of individuals, parents, guardians and organizations committed to addressing the stark social, economic and political realities confronting young black males. Due to the success and overwhelming demand for this program, we have extended it beyond after school hours to include sessions on the weekend during the school year. In an effort to achieve our goals, our program also provides training and workshops for the parents and guardians of these young men, which are mandatory. Our parental workshops are held once a week during the summer and once a month during the school year.
The training and workshops offered pool the talents, know how and resources of the professionals in the legal and financial fields as well as other private businesses and communities, to help reverse the rising rates of school dropouts, joblessness and incarceration among young black men. Our ultimate goal is to increase their representation in higher education and professional endeavors. The staff at Chionesu Bakari recognizes that the problems confronting black men are too complex to succumb to a single solution; therefore, we’ve identified concrete actions and formed a program aimed at addressing the issues of young black males.
Our program name, Chionesu Bakari Program for YOUNG MEN is deliberate. Program participants are not called kids or boys, but young men as a means of development and positive reinforcement. A method to encourage them to believe what they see (by way of our staffing model) and hear. The young men are divided into four groups of a continuum based on program knowledge and maturity: Paupers, Warriors, Princes and the Rites of Passage component. The members of each group are energetically engaged in their studies and are exposed to new experiences so that their gifts and talents are further cultivated. A key benefit of this program is that the young men are involved in the process of eradicating the historical misconceptions of black males.
The goals of the Chionesu Bakari Program for Young Men are:
- To increase the representation of young black men in higher education and professional endeavors.
- To improve the quality of life for participants through collaborative skill building efforts via public and private organizations.
- To effectively reduce levels of high school dropout, joblessness and the increasingly high rate of incarceration.
There are many informal methods of evaluation used to measure the development and growth of the young men. Attendance records, reports cards, teacher’s comments and feedback from many in the community and church are used to assess the overall academic, personal and spiritual growth of the young men.
Many of the participants in the Chionesu Bakari Program for Young Men have consistently achieved average and above average grades in their academic studies. Several of them are currently on the honor roll. 100% HS graduation and 96% college enrollment rate.