The City of Long Beach hosted students from Washington Middle School at City Hall on Wednesday, June 7, an event organized by the Long Beach Innovation Team (i-team) that concluded the year-long My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Mentor Program with City of Long Beach employees as mentors.
The City’s MBK Mentor Program, now in its second year, is an effort to connect City of Long Beach employees as mentors to middle school students. These students, who may be struggling academically, emotionally or socially, spend their lunch time, two Wednesdays a month, with assigned mentors.
“I’m proud that our City is actively addressing the challenges facing our young people through this valuable Mentor Program that inspires them to dream big and aim high,” said Mayor Robert Garcia.
In February 2014, President Obama issued a nationwide Challenge to cities across the country as a call to action to encourage communities to implement strategies for improving the life outcomes of all young people, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or the circumstances to which they are born.
In January 2015, the City Council adopted a resolution supporting President Obama’s MBK Community Challenge, based on an agenda item brought forth by Vice Mayor Rex Richardson, Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, and Councilmembers Roberto Uranga and Al Austin. In June 2016, City Council adopted the MBK Local Action Plan, which calls upon City and community leaders to work collectively to help close opportunity gaps facing youth and ensure that all young people have the resources and tools needed to achieve their full potential.
“The success of young people is important to us,” said Vice Mayor Rex Richardson. “The My Brother’s Keeper Mentor Program builds on the many existing programs and services the City offers to create more opportunities for young boys and men of color.”
During their day at City Hall, the mentees were given guided tours of City departments, learned about possible careers in public service and the education and preparation required for each position. City representatives from various City departments spoke such as Assistant City Manager Tom Modica, Police Chief Robert Luna, Kandice Taylor-Sherwood the Executive Director of Civil Service, and Marine Safety Chief Gonzalo Medina of the Fire Department to name a few.
“Under the City’s Office of Equity, MBK Long Beach provides a new lens for looking at the social determinants of health impacting boys and young men of color. We actively partner with our key stakeholders, such as Long Beach Unified School District, to develop mentoring and other programs that lead to better outcomes for our youth and families,” said Kelly Colopy, Director of the Health and Human Services Department.
“Long Beach Unified School District and Principal Megan Traver are valuable partners in connecting students to positive role models,” said Tracy Colunga, i-team Director. “We are working together to create a clear pipeline for the next generation of employees in the City.”
Transportation for the students’ visit to City Hall was made possible by the generosity of Long Beach Transit.
For more information on MBK, visit www.mbklongbeach.comAbout Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services
The mission of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is to improve quality of life by promoting a safe and healthy community in which to live, work and play. Long Beach Health is one of only three city-run health departments in California, which allows for better engagement with residents, neighborhoods, businesses and community partners, and fosters a greater understanding of the City's strengths. For more information, visit us at www.longbeach.gov/health
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.About the Innovation Team
Launched in 2012, the Innovation Teams Program is one of seven Government Innovation offerings at Bloomberg Philanthropies. Innovation teams (i-teams) function as in-house innovation consultants; helping agency leaders and staff go through a data-driven process to assess problems, generate responsive new interventions, develop partnerships, and deliver measurable results. The City of Long Beach is one of 20 cities around the world that are participating in the program. Launched in 2015, Long Beach’s i-team works closely, and supportively, with their colleagues across city government — offering them a different set of tools and techniques to innovate more effectively. In partnership with these colleagues, the Long Beach i-team aims to deeply understand the problem they are trying to solve by building empathy for the people impacted by it and then work quickly and creatively to co-create and test solutions that deliver meaningful results for residents.
For more information on the City of Long Beach Innovation Team, please visit www.longbeach.gov/iteam
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