GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Heart of West Michigan United Way, Dondreá Brown of Young Money Finances, Henry Sapp of Better Wiser Stronger, and Cole Williams of the Delta Project have joined forces to create an initiative in support of men and boys of color.
Through We Matter Now programs will work at empowering boys and young men of color to close the gap on education, wellness, and financial achievement.
This year We Matter Now will offer a conference, summer programming, a celebration, and ongoing initiatives for 60 boys and men of color from 9th to 11th grade.
We Matter Now will host its first conference Friday, April 22, at Grand Valley State University’s Eberhard Center in downtown Grand Rapids, gathering 60 Black and Brown youth.
Those interested can join the first We Matter Now cohort and attend the conference free of charge by signing up online.
“Recognizing the power of words, We Matter Now seeks to serve ‘at-potential’ boys and young men of color, flipping the narrative that too often begins with ‘at-risk’ youth,” said Brown of Young Money Finances. “Our initiative strives to create a safe space, working to provide Black and Brown high school students with the tools, skills, resources, and relationships needed to face challenges within their community.
“Henry, Cole, and I appreciate the support from United Way, which has encouraged us to develop programming that will resonate with youth we are already working within our community. Together, we are creating a road map that will help young men in West Michigan build deeper, stronger relationships and grow into leaders.”
We Matter Now will offer summer programming to those who attend the conference in the form of the following programming: Better Wiser Stronger will offer its Blueprint Journal workshop, The Delta Project will offer its Delta Conversation, and Young Money Finances will offer three sessions – Young Money Managers, Young Investors, and Young Entrepreneurs – enabling teens to sharpen their skills around managing money, investing and starting a business.
“We Matter Now reflects the importance of seeing positive Black male leadership that will enable boys and young men of color to create positive change in our community,” said Williams of the Delta Project. “Boys and young men of color don’t believe they have an opportunity to change their lives because they don’t see enough successful men of color as role models.
We Matter Now reports they will also hold a celebration in August before the start of the new school year to celebrate the connections forged during spring and summer.