NYC Urban Ambassadors

NYC Urban Ambassadors in Session

For many young men in New York City, access to leadership training and mentorship is not guaranteed. In 2012, NYC Urban Ambassadors (UA) was founded to provide historically under-served young men with purpose, leadership, and distinction. In UA, these young men have experiences that promote positive interactions and brotherly support and are nurtured in an environment that primes them for success in college and career. These experiences include: regular weekly sessions, leadership opportunities, and SAT Prep. UA is currently affiliated with over 40 public high schools across the city and is dedicated to cultivating a brotherhood that serves students throughout their journey from high school to college. The recruitment window begins in the spring and selected youth participate in summer intensive before junior year begins.

Journey to Excellence

Two male students - youth facilitators

Each year a cohort of students begins a two-and-a-half-year program that includes academic support; culturally relevant experiences; college enrichment; socio-emotional development; character and leadership building; brotherhood; and positive adult role-modeling and mentoring. They take the journey to excellence following five pillars: College Readiness; Leadership; Introspection; Mastery Learning; and Brotherhood (CLIMB). These pillars provide a foundation for goal-setting and academic and personal achievement.

2016 Highlights

A group of students cheering in seats

The 2016 UA cohort traveled, networked with leaders in education, and provided their perspectives on a variety of topics including school safety, the need for mentoring, and mental health. Highlights from their experiences included:

  • UA participants were the only guests of former-U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. John King Jr., at a roundtable discussion about the state of education.
  • The men of UA attended the Malcolm Bernard Historically Black Colleges and Universities Fair to learn about higher education opportunities.
  • UA participants visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Each winter and spring, the men of UA embark on multi-day, multi-state college tours. The visits typically include class visits, chats with professors, and most recently, during a visit to Harvard, the young men had the opportunity to spend time with Dr. Cornel West.

Looking Ahead

NYCUA on College Tours

As they pursue access to selective colleges these young men make college readiness their priority. UA participants who have completed the program have a 100% high school graduation rate and 100% college enrollment rate. The program will continue to recruit young men from across the city while developing a curriculum that will be available to schools who are interested in launching youth leadership programs for young men of color.

How to Apply

Applications for the program are available in the spring and young men in Grade 10 are encouraged to apply. For more information, contact adewer@schools.nyc.gov

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