The Chionesu Bakari Program for Young Men rose out of the desire to combat the societal challenges that impact young men, externally and internally. Founder, Horace L. Moore recognized the problems confronting young black men were too complex to succumb to a single solution. In 2006 with the support of Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood (former Sr. Pastor of St. Paul Community Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY), Horace along with the talents of the initial staff, started a summer program for young men based on holistic principles of parent involvement, male led mentoring, group and one-on-one mentoring, and exposure broadening trips.
In addition, two of the foundational program components were being a uniform based program and deliberately referring to participants as “young men.” Calling members young men vs. boys is a means of self esteem development and positive reinforcement. Requiring the CB uniform creates a sense of belonging, a “brotherhood”.
Due to the success of the summer program in 2006, Chionesu Bakari was extended to include year-round programming. The program also formally instituted an external advocacy focus for the young men in their school and family. CB Staff mediate for the young men, often where the they need a voice against potential bias or as a positive African American male mentor providing correction and encouragement.
During the first full year of the program, the concept of brotherhood was further solidified with the creation of groups within the young men; Pauper, Warriors, Princes and the Rites of Passage. The four groups were formed as a continuum based on program knowledge and maturity. With the groups in place the Big Brother/Little Brother mentoring structure was instituted. Chionesu Bakari’s unique mentoring approach ensured that all young men have two or more male mentors. Each member having at least one male CB staff member as mentor and also a mentor in their Big Brother. The Big Brother -young adult who has not long ago gone through what they have- is an important source of support…a safe haven.
With over 12 years in service, we have positively impacted and expanded the worldview of over 300 young men. The program has visited over 23 states and Canada, taken over 50 college/university tours and journeyed to every major Civil Rights historical landmark; including places like Selma, Alabama; Little Rock, Arkansas; and the Lorraine Motel in Memphis TN, to name a few.
We know that we are transforming the lives of young men. We proudly boast that the majority of our over 40 CB Alums are in colleges/universities introduced to them from our CB trips. We have a 100% high school graduation rate and 96% of those have gone on to college with 7 college graduates alumni as of June 2016. Our CB Alums give back every year with over 50% of the CB Alums returning yearly to work in various capacities as youth leaders and mentors. As further proof of success, we are proud of a our near 95% retention rate for parents and young men from middle school to their 1st year of college.