The Black Agenda
It is important to recognize our children need programs specialized for them. When I operated as the Civil Affairs Officer for Southeast Queens on behalf of the New York National Guard, we used a program called Stay On Track.
Stay On Track is peer-reviewed and worked well in Florida and other southern States. However, the sponsor of the program did not have a footprint in Southeast Queens. Kids were simply not interested in NASCAR and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
How did I manage to maintain the 11% change rate the program caused in youth from Southeast Queens reaction to illicit drugs? Instead of NASCAR and Dale I used NBA and Beyonce. I was uniquely qualified for a number of reasons to make this on-the-fly change. One, I'm Black. And two, I was a young Black boy once in Southeast Queens.
This is not a case of pandering. This is a case in accepting kids for where they are from and finding a way to connect with them.
That is why I want to create an initiative to fund community mentoring in each neighborhood. There are a number of self-starters who already conduct youth empowerment programs in Southeast Queens. However, they have barriers to funding, information, and access. I seek to change that through a dedicated community outreach team that will meet you where you are at.