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The BE the CHANGE Literacy, Life Skills and Leadership Program is a collaborative partnership project with Running Rebels Community Organization, Milwaukee Public Schools and the City of Milwaukee designed to engage the broader Milwaukee community in supporting the cultural, social and academic success and achievement of at-risk young black male students. The seven week intensive summer program platform utilizes an integrated service structure using culturally relevant literacy instruction (ID Literacy Curriculum, Dr. Alfred Tatum of Chicago, IL) combined with a rigorous cultural rites of passage component led by trained community facilitators and MPS instructors. During the remainder of the year BTC partners will engage with youth monthly with scheduled events and outings designed to support skills that were introduced during the summer.

The BE the CHANGE summer program serves to provide an outlet for urban youth, youth mentors and older adult role models to share concerns, exchange ideas, develop and offer solutions and act on priorities addressing conditions that lead to disparity.

Be the Change (BTC) is a multi-year partnership program between Milwaukee Public Schools, Running Rebels Community Organization and the City of Milwaukee.

Over the course of the summer and academic year, targeted students participate in literacy enrichment and credit recovery courses supplemented by cultural and social development, health and wellness, and career and college readiness components. The program offers academic support, career pathways and community exposure that furthers student success, engagement, knowledge of self and leadership.

The goals of BTC include:

  • Increasing reading comprehension and literacy skills
  • Improving student confidence and attitude toward learning
  • Improving school attendance rates among participants
  • Lowering disciplinary referral, detention, and suspension rates
  • Establishing, promoting, and enforcing positive social norms and behavior habits
  • Providing opportunities for community exposure, life-skills and character development
  • Increasing community service and civic engagement

The partnership plans to provide a continuum of services and outreach year-round to participating students

Program Design

BTC is designed to improve outcomes in academic performance, health, behavior, and risk avoidance through a continuum of year-round academic and social supports that are culturally tailored to address the range of issues that impede male students’ ability to function productively in school

Each month program participants will participate in activities led by the BTC leadership team, Running Rebels and program collaborators on select non-scheduled school days, including spring break and winter recess.