Apply now: Cohort of Champions Youth Training Initiative

Educational, Entrepreneurial and Enrichment Programs Begin In January. 

ST. PETERSBURG – As the city of St. Petersburg moves forward with efforts to invest in south St. Petersburg, the commitment to our youth expands to include the Cohort of Champions Initiative, a unique training opportunity for 100 boys and young men ages 12 to 24, over the next year. St. Petersburg is accepting applications for the Cohort of Champions, the signature program of the My Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper Initiative (MBSK).

Applications are available at your nearest St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation center or community library or online at Potential participants are invited to apply now to participate in this unique program. Applications are being accepted now through November 30.

The Cohort of Champions Training Initiative is the next step in preparing our African-American boys and young men for the future, designed to help develop a trained, qualified and ready workforce.

“Earlier this year, I articulated the city’s full commitment to changing the trajectory for our at-risk youth. I promised to invest up to one million dollars in our youth and their families. This cohort makes good on that promise,” Mayor Rick Kriseman stated.

The Cohort of Champions is that investment, which involves a comprehensive, multi-faceted one-year training initiative for 100 of St. Petersburg’s own African American boys and young men between the ages of 12 and 24.

Under the MBSK umbrella of programs, the Cohort of Champions training initiative will provide tangible investments in our youth over the next year. The goal of the Cohort is to develop character, support education, provide hands-on experience and workforce readiness training as well as wrap-around support services.

The Cohort of Champions consists of seven programs within three areas of training and enrichment:

Educational Training includes a combination of After School Employment Training and/or Second Chances programs with Post-Secondary Education opportunities;

Entrepreneurial Training involves Career Readiness Training and Entrepreneurship Training; and Enrichment Initiatives/Second Chances programs will offer wrap-around services and workshops for the families of all members of the inaugural cohort, as well as Sports Team Building, a focus on healthy eating and cooking, Role Modeling and Mentoring Round-up activities.

For more about the Cohort of Champions, workforce development and training for African American boys and young men, contact Rev. Kenny Irby at 727-893-7808.

BACKGROUND. Earlier this year, St. Petersburg city rolled out MBSK, the city’s version of President Obama’s MBSK, a national program for communities to create and adopt their own programs to advance opportunities for minority male youth.

“Inspired by the White House MBK national model, local officials adapted and implemented our own programs specific to the needs of St. Petersburg,” said Rev. Kenny Irby, director of the Cohort of Champions Training Initiatives. “My Brother’s &  Sister’s Keeper and all of its components demonstrate the collective action of a cohesive community – families, government, non-profits, social service agencies, education, schools, media, and the business community to improve life and opportunities to all.”

City officials first launched MBSK with the grassroots “Not My Son” community engagement campaign in the summer of 2016. Featuring a series of neighborhood canvassing activities with colorful yard signs, Pledge Cards and T-shirts, Not My Son was wholeheartedly embraced by the community.

The Cohort of Champions is the next step of that investment, which involves a comprehensive, multi-faceted one-year training initiative for 100 of St. Petersburg’s own African American boys and young men between ages of 12 and 24. At the next Urban Affairs annual update, the “Cohort of Champions” inaugural group of 100 boys and young men selected to participate will be introduced.

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