A new program at East Boston High School supported by Youth Guidance in Chicago is making waves among young men at the school.
Becoming a Man (BAM) Boston, headed by EBHS’s former basketball coach Shawn Brown, creates and implements school-based programs that enable students to overcome obstacles, focus on their education and, ultimately, to succeed in school and in life.
“The pilot program, now expanding to more schools, seeks the same nationally-recognized outcomes, for young men of color at risk for poor academic outcomes and/or involvement in the juvenile justice system, as BAM has achieved in Chicago,” said Brown, Executive Director of BAM Boston.
In fact research by the University of Chicago Crime Lab has found that BAM reduces violent crime arrests by 50 percent and increases on-time high school graduation rates for youth in under-resourced communities.
Under the leadership of Brown, BAM is now serving about 150 young men at EBHS, English High School, the Jeremiah Burke High School and Dearborn STEM Academy shared campus and the John O’Bryant School of Mathematics. Future plans include expansion to nine Boston schools by the 2019-20 academic year to support more than 450 young men.
“Building upon Youth Guidance’s BAM program’s success last year, we launched into two new Boston schools this year, East Boston High School and Tech Boston Academy,” said Brown. “As a result, BAM is growing to serve 300 students – we call scholars – across Boston’s Dorchester, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, and East Boston neighborhoods during the 2018-19 school year. And to deepen BAM’s impact, Boston Public Schools recently announced a two-year funding commitment that will grow to serve 450 students by 2020.”
EBHS Headmaster Phil Brangiforte said while the program is only servicing ninth graders right now he hopes the pilot program at the school expands to include other grades.
“BAM has been a great added addition to East Boston High School,” said Brangiforte. “It has really helped students attend school and be well rounded students. We would love to expand the program next year to Grade 10. I appreciate all the work Shawn (Brown) has done to bring the program to East Boston High School.”
Rep. Adrian Madaro recently visited the BAM program at the school and was impressed.
“I had the opportunity to join the Becoming A Man (BAM) circle at East Boston High School,” said Madaro. “ I left inspired and grateful for the important work BAM Boston does helping young men navigate difficult challenges in their lives that threaten their future. By investing in programs like BAM, we help create safe spaces where students can express themselves, receive support, and develop the social-emotional skills necessary to succeed.”