While much progress has been made since the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, African American males continue to struggle to achieve educational and economic success. African American males have higher rates of suspension, expulsion, placement in special education, and dropout than other groups. Sadly, African American males confront high unemployment and low labor force participation rates, but high probation and incarceration rates, representing nearly half of the nation's male prison inmates.
We believe that it is possible for Black males to achieve more, do better in school and lead more successful lives. Given the complex and longstanding nature of this problem, the Initiative seeks to:
- Gain a better understanding of the issues facing young Black males; and
- Create new and better program strategies to address the needs of this vulnerable population
The dilemma of the African American male certainly demands a solution. In 2007, Children's Aid launched The African American Male Initiative, with the support of The Charles Hayden Foundation, to help young males receive all the support needed to achieve success. It started with the Steps to Success Initiative, in which groups of young Black males beginning in second grade receive life coaching, academic support, cultural enrichment, and mentoring.