Saving Our Boys

“Based on collected data that considers the low test scores of 8-year old African American boys, three new prisons are being built in Philadelphia. At such a young age, where children dare to dream of the infinite possibilities for their future, our boys have been earmarked for prison based on their underperformance in the classroom. ‘Saving Our Boys’ is a preemptive strike against the prediction that 8-year old boys will become inmates instead of high school graduates. The mission of ‘Saving Our Boys’ is simple: we are putting an end to this sob story by cultivating a village that will provide tools and resources that will gain our boys access to a brighter future.” – Michele Lawrence

  

Saving Our Boys works to prepare young men in grades 5 through 12 for success beyond high school via character building, leadership skills development, and instilling a sense of social responsibility. This is a continuous program with each new cohort of young men being actively mentored by the former, which creates a ‘my brother’s keeper’ relationship. In this village, Saving Our Boys will leverage local resources to build future generations of leaders.

In August 2011, Lawrence launched Saving Our Boys with an institute on the campus of Cheyney University, in conjunction with the Call Me MISter program.  Over the course of four days, 30 young African-American men, ages 13-17 and from the Philadelphia area, worked together to poke holes in the theory that they are more likely to become prison inmates than high school graduates. Daily, from 7:15am to 8:00pm, the young men were challenged to expand their notions of success, hard work, discipline, manhood, leadership and personal development. The young men discussed such topics as how to interview; the importance of first, second and third impressions; money management and wealth building; self-expression through artistic endeavors; how the media affects the image we have of ourselves; what problems ail our communities and how we plan to solve them; and the power of words. As a continuation of the summer session, the young men participate in monthly Saturday sessions during the school year, led by Saving Our Boys directors and covering the topics touched on during the summer, and expanding upon them.

As a whole, Saving Our Boys is an effort to repair the vision and future of boys of color, and to begin answering the ongoing cry of “Who will save our children?” Based on collected data that considers the low test scores of 8-year old African American boys, three new prisons are being built in Philadelphia. At such a young age, where children dare to dream of the infinite possibilities for their future, our boys have been earmarked for prison based on their under performance in the classroom. Saving Our Boys is built on the belief that, by cultivating a village and providing the tools and resources that will gain young African-American men access to a brighter future, they will realize their full potential. To date, the young men of Saving Our Boys have tackled such topics as:

(1) Personal Development and Meditation
(2) Black Wall Street
(3) Self-Image and Social Media
(4) Community Leadership and Development
(5) Using Writing, Music, and Performance Art as a Form of Expression
(6) Entrepreneurship and How to Start (and Maintain) a Business

Stay up to date with Saving Our Boys by following the organization on Twitter: @SavingOurBoys and on Facebook