Young Male Scholars


Initiated during the 2013-2014 school year at Gardena High School, the Young Male Scholars (YMS) program provided 9-11th grade male students of color with college preparation, expository writing, critical thinking and media literacy training. A one year companion pilot was begun at King Drew Magnet of Medicine and Science during the 2015-2016 school year (the program was not continued in 2016-2017 due to lack of funding). Participants were eligible for course and service learning credit. Students also received mentoring, guidance and instruction on devising a college plan, developing public speaking and collaboration skills, writing critical essays, and identifying long term academic/professional goals. Students learned to identify and challenge the role stereotypes and discrimination based on gender, race, sexuality, class, disability, and community that impact their lives. Students developed and participated in men of color college forums, field trips, and video projects as ongoing and culminating activities. Program participants collaborated with Women's Leadership Project (WPL) students on school climate, school-to-prison pipeline, and college panel forums. Program participants also conducted extensive sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention training with their peers at Gardena High School, King-Drew Magnet and the L.A. County's Rise Up conference. During the 2014-2015, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years forty students participated in the program. The racial makeup of the program was 95% African American and 5% mixed race/multiracial. For the 2016-2017 school year, approximately 15% of students were 10th graders, 35% of students are 11th graders, and 50% are 12th graders. Students in the 2016-2017 cohort represented the first four year graduating class of YMS. Graduating seniors from the class of 2017 matriculated at Morehouse College, the University of Las Vegas, and El Camino College.

Core Program Features:

I. College Pipeline vs. Prison Pipeline

    1. Community and social context
    2. Educational equity and social justice
    3. Debunking/challenging racial stereotypes
    4. Benefits of college and demographics

II. College Preparation and Life Skills

    1. Life goals and ambitions
    2. A-G courses and graduation requirements
    3. Extra-curricular and community engagement
    4. Mentoring and leadership opportunities
    5. Financial aid, scholarships and internships

III. Health Literacy, Media Literacy and Social Roles

    1. Media representation and media literacy
    2. Race, gender, sexuality and stereotypes
      • Social definitions of masculinity and femininity
      • Homophobia, transphobia and gender non-conformity
    3. Violence prevention and interpersonal relationships
      • Defining sexual harassment and sexual assault
      • STI/STD education & prevention
      • Developing healthy relationships
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