Miles Ahead Scholars: A Legacy Program Aimed to Help Young Men of Color go to College
Every urban city has African-American communities that have been neglected, and opportunities to succeed are scarce. This ongoing trend has reverberated for decades and leaves little hope for many of our kids. Houston is home to several of these neighborhoods.
In 2014, President Barack Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative to address the persistent achievement gaps boys and young men of color face. Several studies from top research institutions found what we already knew. African-American men are a dying breed on college campuses. I sought to change this upon being elected as a state senator in 2016.
We needed a program to help our young men of Color get to college and succeed. I approached the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and education advocates with this goal, and they all agreed. So, we got to work and developed a program based on best practices. Then, I was able to secure $22 million during the past two legislative sessions to fund the program.
Last week, I joined HISD, the TEA, and hundreds of community leaders and education advocates to unveil the fruits of our labor and welcome the inaugural class of the Miles Ahead Scholars. The Miles Ahead Scholars’ inaugural class consists of sixty 9th and 10th-grade boys who show academic promise from Wheatley, Worthing and Kashmere High Schools. Each of these schools is located in predominantly African American communities. The program will follow these boys and future classes as they become men and graduate from high school. The program has dedicated staff to allow the students to achieve excellence in academics, learn skills for success, and to help them apply and get accepted to top colleges and universities.
The program sets very high goals for the scholars. The students will also be mentored by successful men of color, participate in professional internships so that they can receive real-world experience and visit the top universities in the country. We need to show these kids what possibilities lie ahead.
At the personal invitation of HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan, Alpha Phi Alpha General President Dr. Everett Ward flew in to surprise me and celebrate the inaugural class. We all know the old African Proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” As chair of the Council of Presidents of the National Pan Hellenic Council, Inc., which represents the nine historically Black Greek-lettered Organizations, Dr. Ward was thrilled to see members from several Black fraternal organizations present and asked the brothers to help mentor, protect, and lead these young brothers.
I live by that old village saying, “That he is not heavy. He is my brother. When one makes it over the fence, he is responsible for reaching back and helping the next one over to be successful.” I plan on being there for each one of these boys and help them make it over the fence. But I can’t do this alone. If you are interested in mentoring one of these scholars or becoming a partner organization, please contact my office to learn more about these rewarding opportunities.
Call 713-665-8322 or email Borris.Miles@senate.texas.gov.