After School Program

The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis) understands that the after school hours are a prime time for engaging young people. Our programming offers a safe space where young people, ages eight to 18, can learn and grow, form lasting friendships, have fun, and be enriched by a curriculum that fosters:

• Knowledge of self, creative expression and a sense of personal agency
• Respect and empathy for one’s peers, families and communities
• Healthy relationships and lifestyle choices
• Individual and collective responsibility within and beyond the program
• Ongoing opportunity to explore and practice leadership from need to opportunity

Programs

Bro/Sis after school programming provides an entry point for children and youth into our organization and more expansive experiences for members in our Rites of Passage Program and Liberation Program. Though the school programming coincides with the school calendar, it is designed to lead to year around, long-term involvement. Our youngest members transition into teen programming, our teens move into our Summer Leadership Program, and a cycle of participation and leadership is created.

From Need To Opportunity

Bro/Sis provides daily after school activities to address:

Access gaps: The young people we work with have limited access to adequate (no less stellar) schools, employment opportunities and enrichment/leadership experiences.

Bro/Sis is located in the only overcrowded school district in Manhattan. One of our partner high schools, Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning & Social Change, was in 2001 the first new school built in Harlem in 50 years. In recent years the high school graduation rate in New York City has hovered at about 55%, though for Black and Latino boys it is closer to 35%.Teenagers living near Bro/Sis or in similar neighborhoods also have limited employment opportunities. Finally, in a community of 23,000 youth age 19 and under, Bro/Sis is the only comprehensive and holistic youth organization available to them in a 10 block radius of our doorstep.

Youth risk factors: All young people are at-risk as they face myriad challenges in moving from childhood to adulthood. However the risks our members daily confront are exacerbated by the access gap, and without sufficient support and guidance, can lead to devastating outcomes.

Our neighborhood is the main distribution point in New York City for cocaine, yet there are limited options for healthy food, medical services, and useful commerce. The teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS rates are unacceptably high, and access to the clean air and green space is unacceptably low.

Impact opportunity: The access gaps and risk factors speak to educational, economic and environmental systems that are failing to serve our young people. These impacts however do not speak to the innate curiosity and capability of youth that is all too often untapped. Bro/Sis works to close gaps and minimize risks through programming that challenges young people to defy the odds laid against them. Where after school programming seems to have become passé in recent years, at Bro/Sis we continue to offer it knowing it is essential for helping our members thrive, achieve, and commit to social change.

Strategies & Resources

• Low adult-to-youth ratio
• Respect for young people’s needs and interests
• Youth-centered, developmentally appropriate and culturally relevant curriculum and activities
• A sense of order, high expectations and accountability
• Deep caring, fun and a sense of belonging
• Staff trained in the Bro/Sis model and utilizing reflective and collaborative practice.
(Staff average 7 years tenure at Bro/Sis and several are Bro/Sis alumni.)
• A healthy meal
• Homework help and tutoring
• College and career advisory
• Volunteers (including alumni) who lend their support, expertise and passion for children as
mentors, tutors and instructors.