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New Rochelle Finalizing 'My Brother's Keeper' Action Plan

The New Rochelle City Council accepting President Barack Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" challenge earlier this year.
The New Rochelle City Council accepting President Barack Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" challenge earlier this year. Photo Credit: Jay G. Wegimont

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – After months of meeting, planning and discussion within the community, city and school officials are finalizing their policy review and are preparing to submit their “recommendations for action,” after accepting President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper Challenge” to improve educational opportunities in New Rochelle.

Since hosting an Action Summit in June after becoming the only city in Westchester County to accept Obama’s challenge, a Steering Committee comprised of members of the City Council, school district and prominent community members has been hard at work “creating action steps to address six areas of the focus – the goals of the challenge – that are critical to ensuring that youth can succeed from pre-K, all the way up through college and careers.”

Under the challenge, all children will be emotionally, socially and physically prepared to attend classes, with all children literate by the third grade. Other specific goals include ensuring that every youth graduates high school, completes post-secondary education and come out prepared for gainful employment.

According to Angela Derecas Taylor, a member of the “My Brother’s Keeper” Steering Committee, “they’ve spent several weeks collecting and reviewing data provided by the community” to determine which services and programs can be provided by a series of community organizations to improve the entire education experience.

Once completed, the “Action Plan” will outline how dozens of local organizations plan to help improve safety, increase early childhood literacy, prepare students for state testing, and help them ultimately become youth leaders as they make their way through high school, college and into their careers.

Members of the Steering Committee must submit their “Action Plan” by Thursday, and will then have 60 days to launch it. There will be working groups meeting constantly in the community during the two-month period, as they get ready to execute the plan.

“This ‘cradle to career’ approach intended to eliminate opportunity gaps, barriers and challenges facing youth in our community, primarily boys and young men of color, is exactly what is needed in New Rochelle to allow all people to reach their potential,” Councilman Jared Rice said when New Rochelle accepted the challenge. “What is particularly exciting about this process is that the city and school district have entered into a historic partnership regarding ‘My Brother’s Keeper.’”

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