“Not all youth are born with privilege, opportunities, or a positive network. Some are raised throughout their lives thinking they’ll never be able to live the life they’ll want. This is because of the environment and the people who they surround themselves every single day. Every African-American person should have the ability to create the life they’ve always wanted and that’s what The 100 Black Men of America, Inc. provides.” – The 100 Black Men of America, Inc.
Collaboration between FIRST and community-based youth-serving organizations is critical to successfully reach underserved youth with FIRST programs. These collaborations are part of FIRST strategies to remove barriers and ensure greater access to FIRST programs so that all youth can participate.
The 100 Black Men of America, Inc. is the United States’ top African American led mentoring organization, focused on providing mentoring, education, health and wellness, and economic empowerment resources to underserved youth. Local chapters intentionally prepare these young individuals to realize their highest potential by creating viable solutions to address the issues affecting their communities.
In 2019, FIRST joined forces with The 100 Black Men of America to provide $5,000 grants to four chapter locations (Atlanta, Georgia, Houston, Texas, Chicago, Illinois, and Jacksonville, Florida) to establish and support their FIRST Tech Challenge teams. FIRST mentors and coaches who understand the youth they serve and have access to resources for the team are better positioned to build strong teams. Those elements helped set “The Brogrammers” up for success.
FIRST Tech Challenge team “The Brogrammers,” one of the grant recipients in Chicago, Illinois, opened their rookie year in the 2019/2020 FIRST RISE powered by Star Wars: Force for Change season with a team of seven 7th-10th grade students who were all primarily new to robotics and programming. They were mentored by volunteers from 100 Black Men of Chicago. By the end of the season, the Brogrammers were able to build and program a competition-ready robot to compete in three division meets and placed 18th out of 33 in the Chicago South League Championships, placing ahead of several seasoned teams.
“Given the impact of the program as evidenced in the impressive rookie year performance, I look forward to the continuation and expansion of the FIRST program for the 2020/2021 season (quarantine pending),” says team coach and The 100 Black Men of Chicago volunteer mentor Aaron D. Dorsey.
To learn more about The 100 Black Men of American, Inc., visit https://100blackmen.org/
To learn more about Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in FIRST, visit https://www.firstinspires.org/about/diversityinclusion