Local civic organizations, municipal government representatives and Culver City residents will meet on Feb. 3 to plan the next stage of implementing elements of the My Brother’s Keeper Challenge. No location or time has been set for the meeting.
Last year, the White House announced that more than 100 mayors- including Culver City Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells-tribal nations and county officials had accepted the idea of implementing the initiative, which encourages mayors and community leaders to develop strategies that will allow young people- particularly young minority men- to reach their full potential through academic enrichment and making their communities safer. Sahli-Wells hosted a meeting last fall after announcing that she had accepted President Obama’s call to explore how Culver City could become involved in the national initiative.
Asked what she would like to accomplish in the Feb. 3 meeting, Sahli-Wells responded, “I’d like to leave the room with a game plan. The first meeting was more of an in introductory meeting. Now I’d like to see us move forward with a plan.”
The following are the six goals are part of the Brother’s Keeper Challenge: ensuring all children enter school cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally ready; ensuring all children read at grade level by third grade; ensuring all youth graduate from high school; ensuring all youth complete post-secondary education or training; ensuring all youth out of school are employed; and ensuring all youth remain safe from violent crime. After the first meeting, a new objective was included for Culver City’s effort.
“We’ve added the goal of making sure that every child in Culver City has a home,” Sahli-Wells said. “We’ve been working with [homeless housing and services provider] Upward Bound on this new goal.”
Representatives of the Culver City Unified School District, the Culver City Parks, Recreation and Community Service Department, the Culver City Police Department and the Culver City Fire Department took part in the meeting. The parks and recreation center’s Teen Center, led by Arames White-Shearin, will be very involved in the challenge, according to Culver City Parks, Recreation and Community Service Director Daniel Hernandez
“The Teen Center takes pride in its preexisting homework help program in collaboration with UCLA Bruin Corp. We began our partnership with UCLA in 2003. Undergraduate students are sent has a part of work study to our site to help Teen Center participants with homework and study habits. They are not only tutors but also share the mentor role,” Hernandez said. “As the Teen Center grows each year with more and more participants that is a sign of change in the community for the better. Our goal is to continue the work that we do in the community and assist other groups when we can in the community.”
Sahli-Wells also welcomed the participation of West Los Angeles College officials in the initiative, which has a high population of Latino and black students.
“They’re serving the population that the initiative is targeting,” she pointed out.
The mayor was invited the White House and planned to travel to Washington D.C. with White-Shearin and Joanne Brody of the Linwood E. Howe Elementary School Parent-Teachers Association on Jan. 28 to discuss the challenge with White House officials and fellow mayors, but due to the blizzards in the Northeast the trip was canceled.