The Crusader Newspaper Group

Lake County Unveils My Brother’s Keeper Initiative

Edgewater Health CEO Dr. Danita Johnson-Woods (left) and Lake County Prosecutor Bernard A. Carter (right).

Lake County leaders from various sectors, including law enforcement, law, medicine, education, social services, and mental health, have joined forces to spearhead a transformative opportunity aimed at empowering boys and young men of color.

A press conference was held on April 9 at 10 a.m. at the Purdue Extension – Lake County Building, situated at 2291 N. Main St. in Crown Point, directly across from the Lake County Government Center, to unveil My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Lake County.

The MBK Alliance, a national initiative initiated by President Barack Obama following the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, seeks to bridge opportunity gaps for boys and young men of color. With a focus on addressing disparities and fostering opportunities, MBK has a proven track record of positively impacting the lives of young men in communities nationwide.

One of MBK’s core principles is the belief that every young person deserves the chance to fulfill their potential. Unfortunately, many young men of color in Lake County encounter systemic and structural barriers that hinder their access to essential resources for success. “By establishing a county-wide MBK presence, we can cultivate a network of support and mentorship to help these young men navigate challenges and realize their aspirations,” noted MBK Champion and Lake County Prosecutor Bernard A. Carter.

Carter emphasized, “By offering support, resources, and opportunities to young men and boys of color, we can contribute to building a brighter future for all Lake County residents.” He expressed pride in partnering with Edgewater Health and its CEO, Dr. Danita Johnson-Woods, who serves as the community backbone organization for this vital initiative.

The MBK approach encompasses six milestones that research indicates are predictive of future success and where interventions can yield significant impacts:

1. Entering School Ready to Learn

2. Reading at Grade Level by Third Grade

3. Graduating from High School

4. Completing Post-Secondary Education or Training

5. Ensuring All Youth out of School are Employed

6. Keeping All Youth Safe from Violent Crime

Currently, Lake County MBK has identified three initial milestones to prioritize: Entering School Ready to Learn and Reading at Grade Level by Third Grade, chaired by retired pediatrician and Founder of the Gary Literacy Coalition Dr. Steve Simpson, and Completing Post-Secondary Education and Training, co-chaired by Jose G. Valtierra and Marcus Williams, according to Johnson-Woods.

A hallmark of My Brother’s Keeper is its emphasis on fostering strong relationships between young men and supportive adult mentors. Research underscores that young people with such mentorship are more likely to excel academically, professionally, and personally. Carter stressed, “By connecting young men in Lake County with mentors who offer guidance, encouragement, and support, we can equip them with the skills and confidence needed for success.”

Carter concluded optimistically, “The presence of MBK in Lake County could have a significant and lasting impact on our community.”

For further information, contact Myrna Maldonado at [email protected].

Recent News

Scroll to Top