Letter from our Directors Circle
The Brotherhood/Sister Sol’s “Theory of Change” is a transformative youth development model. It is one that has been honored and highlighted throughout the country. We provide multi-layered support, guidance, education and love to our membership; we teach them to have self-discipline and form order in their lives; and then we offer opportunities and access so that they may develop agency.
The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing youth into empowered critical thinkers and community leaders. We offer long term, intensive involvement with our participants over the course of their secondary school careers and provide unique scaffolded and wrap-around services that support their personal development and academic achievement.
Bro/Sis supports youth, ages 8-22, through multi-layered, diverse and holistic programming. Our young people face socio-economic realities that affect their lives. These disparate realities are reflected in health, employment, early pregnancy, incarceration, schooling, and life expectancy disparities. In response, we provide comprehensive, award-winning, non-traditional support. The themes of our organization are: Community, Knowledge, Positivity and Future. We are committed to helping youth develop their minds, bodies and spirits in a healthy manner, ensuring their development into strong and stable adults.
We seek to help young people to break cycles of poverty and to create stable lives. 46% of people in our great city live in poverty or near poverty. We are also working to help young people understand the conditions they have been born into, the poverty they face and the unequal education they receive, so that they can become leaders who work to seek change so that others will not have to face such inequity. We guide young people to redefine masculinity and femininity and the destructive norms and expectations so often placed upon our young people. Our youth are taught to confront sexism and misogyny, to reject homophobia, to work to build bridges with other communities and become global citizens.
We offer a four to six year Rites of Passage program where members define what it means to be men/women, brothers/sisters, and leaders. We provide five day a week after school care, counseling, summer camps, college preparation, employment opportunities, activist training, community gardening, and intensive arts programming. We expose our young people to new opportunities through wilderness retreats, cultural performances, college tours, and month long intensive international study programs to Africa and Latin America. For our recent alumni members, we provide support to ensure they remain in college or employed and that they continue to make healthy and productive choices in their lives – fully developing emotional intelligence and critical decision-making skills.
Bro/Sis serves 350 youth at it’s Harlem site, and serves another 700 youth via its work in three schools in the Bronx and Harlem to provide anti-violence and conflict resolution services and its partnership with NYC’s Department of Education to administer youth development services throughout three schools in Brooklyn and Queens. Over the last 20 years Bro/Sis has created an evidence-based model that is recognized throughout the country. We have been recognized due to our statistical outcomes, comprehensive programming and pedagogical approach to youth development that is modeled across the nation.
We have documented outcomes that far surpass City numbers:
- Harlem’s teenaged pregnancy rate is 15% – our members have a rate of less than 2%.
- In NYC the general high school graduation rate of 70%; while the Schott Foundation found that the graduation rate of Black and Latino boys is 34%. Over 40% of Black men between the ages of 18-65 in New York City are unemployed.
- 90% of our alumni have graduated from high school, 95% either graduated from high school or earned their GED and 95% are working full time or enrolled in college whereas the similarly situated population in West Harlem, 18-25, has a 40% rate of either working full time or being enrolled in college.
- With regards to issues of criminality and morality – after 20 years none of our members or alumni members are incarcerated and less than 1% have a felony conviction.
Bro/Sis is not simply based in NYC and the US, but has an extensive international reach as well. We have held a youth International Study Program since 1996. We spend 5 months in NYC teaching our young people about the culture, politics and history of a nation – and then our youth spend one month in the country – Ghana, South Africa, Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Brazil, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Haiti and Cuba. Bro/Sis has also had its approach modeled and done extensive training of youth workers in Brazil and in Bermuda.
Bro/Sis partners with the United States Department of State in two ways: 1) the State Department has sent representatives from Brazil and Argentina to Bro/Sis to be trained on our approach and learn more about our model and 2) is funding Bro/Sis to engage in an intensive two-year youth media exchange between youth journalists from Bro/Sis and leading youth bloggers in Rio, Brazil. Finally, through assorted foundation contacts Bro/Sis has trained youth development and education workers from Australia, Ireland, Argentina, Brazil and South Africa in the areas of conflict resolution, youth development, and youth organizing.
Due to this success, our leadership team have been asked to share their expertise and inform the field during presentations at foundation and education conferences by speaking at a wide array of institutions, foundation, universities and policy institutes, all across the country. Bro/Sis has a wide reach throughout NYC and the United States and its model is seen as a leading example for the field.
The Directors Circle
Khary, Jason, Cidra, Wendy
of Bro/Sis alumni have graduated from high school or earned a GED
“What brought me to Brotherhood/Sister Sol is that this organization is attempting to find relevant solutions to the desperate situations facing our young people in the community. The services they provide are invaluable. They are a significant island in a vast sea.”
“I’ve stood on platforms around the world…many occasions that would be…auspicious, important. I have been anointed, I have been blessed and I have been admired, and I am now at my eighty-third year in life. I can honestly say with total recall, that no other event has ever meant this much to me as this evening, this very moment, in my public life.”