October 23rd, 2023
Improve Your Tomorrow
Having spent the last ten years serving thousands of young men of color across school districts in California, Improve Your Tomorrow (IYT) will be expanding its college-bound brotherhood and network of programs and services to Minnesota. This step was made possible thanks to the vital partnership between IYT and ServeMinnesota, which will help provide the resources for its 7-12th program and paid year-long mentorship program for college students to provide mentorship to youth.
“Given the chronic absenteeism and racial educational disparities that exist in Minnesota, we’re at a critical point to ensure young men of color have the same educational access and opportunities to close those gaps.” Said Dr. Sandy Pulles, Vice President of Equity and Inclusion at ServeMinnesota.
Speaking further on the historic partnership, Julia Quanrud, CEO of ServeMinnesota stated “We are excited that IYT has chosen Minnesota
as its first expansion state.” Continuing Quanrud said, “ServeMinnesota is known for supporting AmeriCorps programs that deliver meaningful impact through evidence-based programs and knowing that IYT has a proven track record for improving educational outcomes for young men of color, this program will provide the much-needed support to ensure they graduate high school, attend college and earn a degree.”
The expansion to Minnesota brings IYT one step closer to achieving its vision: a nation in which young men of color are overrepresented in higher education, underrepresented in the criminal justice system, and are leaders in their communities. From its on-the-ground program team to its Board of Directors, IYT has built a diverse coalition and movement with a proven track record of changing academic outcomes for young men of color.
“Beginning in middle school, IYT works in close collaboration with schools to ensure young men of color who have been historically marginalized in the educational system receive support and access to opportunities that will propel them through college completion” stated Dr. Pulles. “Their staff and mentors bring lived experience and have witnessed the power of AmeriCorps service in creating leadership pathways for students and building bridges to launch their careers."
Just as IYT's original program in Sacramento thrived under the guardianship of devoted community leaders with well-established connections and a lasting influence, Minnesota's inaugural team will be led by long-time educational leader, Arthur C. Turner III.
Amidst a high-energy welcome from program staff and leadership, Mr. Turner stepped into his role as IYT’s first Executive Director in Minnesota. Reflecting on the decision, he stated "I am truly honored and excited to join IYT. Their mission deeply resonates with my passion for guiding young males of color.” Continuing he said, “The co-founders, Michael Lynch and Michael Casper, have created a diverse team of mission-driven professionals and board members, dedicated to identifying and nurturing the potential in every young male of color.”
In harmony with school district partners, community leaders and funders, Turner will build out IYT’s 7th–12th program, College Academy, which provides mentorship, college advising, college tours, and internships along with a host of other services, all at no cost to students. Mr. Turner will lead the charge in selecting the first eight middle and high schools the program will launch in. With broader decisions at the Minnesota state level being focused on prioritizing equity (see MDE Legislative Update), Mr. Turner sees a great opportunity to help produce the outcomes recent legislative decisions intend to make through the growth of IYT’s school-based programs.
As Improve Your Tomorrow grows its roots in Minnesota under the leadership of Mr. Turner and with support from ServeMinnesota, we can anticipate a brighter, more equitable future for the state's young men of color. With dedication, collaboration, and a shared vision, IYT is well on its way to making a profound difference, not only in the lives of the students it serves but in the broader landscape of education and equality in Minnesota.
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