KCPS implements My Brother's Keeper initiative to provide mentor - KCTV5

KCPS implements My Brother's Keeper initiative to provide mentors for students

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KCPS says the goal is to make sure students don’t become a statistic. (KCTV5) KCPS says the goal is to make sure students don’t become a statistic. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

For at-risk youth, a role model can make all the difference.

On Tuesday Kansas City Public Schools launched a new program focused on implementing positive influence in student’s lives.

The district launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative at Benjamin Banneker Elementary.

The Kansas City school district is one of 30 school systems in the country chosen to participate.

The goal, to assign young students in the African American and Latino communities with a mentor, to keep them focused and safe.

KCPS says the goal is to make sure students don’t become a statistic.

The district struggles with only about a 65 percent graduation rate. The student body is made up of 90 percent minority students.

Superintendent Mark Bedell says the program will keep them on track to graduate and break generational poverty.

“It plagues our communities,” Bedell said. “It causes us to not have any hope. I want our kids to have hope. I want our kids to believe anything they do they can accomplish.”

That’s exactly what mentor Tiffany Martinez does for these students.

“I mentor Lawny, Marcus and Zamari,” Martinez said.

She is one of dozens of professionals from various careers and demographics that will mentor kids ranging from Kindergarten to Third Grade.

“I go up to my three every day…how ya doing, high five, they know somebody’s there for them every day,” Martinez said.

President Barack Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative in 2014.

One of the main goals, provide a role model for kids who do not have parents as part of their lives.

“Our kids, in some cases, are raising themselves,” Bedell said. They can be able to say I’m dealing with this, have you experienced this scenario? How do you help me navigate? That means the world.”

Bedell says his goal is to provide 8,000 mentors for students by the year 2020.

Each of the mentors is screened for and approved by the school.

A meeting is being held from 5:30 p.m. at Northeast High School.

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