Idea Leader: Eric J. Clark
Location: Chicago, IL
Partner Organization: Kenwood Academy High School
Project Summary: Eric Clark, 17, organized his fellow African-American male students at Kenwood Academy High School into a group focused on fraternity, responsibility, and creativity. Members of The Brotherhood shadowed college students and toured colleges, held a Male Health Fair, and held workshops on topics like building relationships and understanding parents.
The Brotherhood: Fraternity, Responsibility, Creativity
The purpose of this project is to train the males of Kenwood Academy to become leaders for themselves, their families, their communities, and school, while improving the graduation rate.
The first meeting was on September 3, 2010. It was to discuss the implementation of the My Idea Grant and plan out the year. We decided to recruit for the rest of the month due to the freshmen failures from the previous school year in an effort to prevent the new students from getting off track. We used flyers, posters and various advertisements to recruit and as a result we obtained 30 new recruits.
Brotherhood decided the theme for October was Fraternity. All meetings involved team building and bonding in order to make our new recruits comfortable with the older members. The relationships were formed and needed to reach our goal for the freshmen because it allowed them to trust everyone in the group.
Brotherhood members went to Northern Illinois University to shadow Brotherhood Alumni and other college students. We went to prepare our members for college and expose them to a college environment. We went to various admission and financial aid workshops attended college classes to understand the college experience.
The Brotherhood organized a Step Team as an extra outlet for the members. It teaches discipline and encourages physical fitness. We prepared for the 3rd annual Brotherhood Step show which is a fundraiser that helps to pay for our college tour experiences. It is where we invite other school step teams to participate and compete. We won first place by a panel of judges. Overall it raised $4,000 dollars. We held a Male Health Fair. We invited health professionals to come and talk to the Kenwood freshmen and Brotherhood members about our teenage male health issues.
We discussed our first semester grades and began tutoring sessions for all members who needed help in any classes. Several Brotherhood Alumni attended our meetings in January. They provided their experience in college and answered our questions about college. We participated in DePaul University’s Male Initiative Project. It was a day long workshop to address male academic, personal and health issues.
February’s theme was creativity. We had meetings on creative expressions in the visual and performing arts. As well as being comfortable with being you, we also focused on the characters of our members.
March dealt with teenage problems such as understanding parents, sex, and hygiene and building relationships. One Brotherhood Alum came back to talk about the importance of abstinence and practicing safer sex. We wanted our members to be prepared for whatever they may face in the real world. We also did a male bonding activity. We went to Whirlyball where we participated in teambuilding exercises. We did this to trust our members and build a stronger relationship with them.
We continued to build on the character of our members. We had meetings involving respect, self conscience issues and tolerating differences. We also began to plan our 8th annual awards ceremony. We went to the annual spring break Brotherhood college tour. 23 members went and paid $200 each. We went to Howard University, Georgetown University, and George Washington University. We also visited the Capitol Hill, the monuments and museums in Washington D.C. We discovered the college life and how to get more African American males into college because the rating is low.
We began to vote for the 2011-2012 officers of the Brotherhood and vote for the awards given in the awards ceremony. We had our 8th awards ceremony. It was coordinated by senior Craig Lowe. He was voted for President.
Our other officers are:
- Marcus Powell, Vice President
- Anthony Davis, Secretary
- Stanley Rogers, Event Coordinator
- Willie O’Neal, Treasurer
The winners of the awards were: Attendance – Chris Pope, Andy Chen, and DiaVonte Wilkes. The Martin Luther King Leadership Award was Chris Pope. The Malcolm X Leadership Award was Arshad Ali. The Brotherhood Spirit Award was Stanley Rogers. Most creative was Isaiah Fabre`. The Seventh Man was Pierre Anderson. The ACE award was Joseph Laseter for the fourth year in a row. We also had our retreat to prepare for the next school year at DePaul University. We are a part of the DePaul Male Initiative Project and D-Men Challenge.
Overall the Brotherhood has been a success through our various projects and in our goal of keeping freshman on track, mentoring males, and having our members graduate. We had 57 members in the Brotherhood. Twenty-two graduated on June 13, 2011.This group shows no sign of slowing down or stopping.