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Lake County Joins My Brother’s Keeper Alliance

April 2, 2024

LAKE COUNTY (April 2, 2024) Lake County leaders from the areas of law enforcement, law, medical, education, social service and mental health have united to help bring a powerful opportunity to create change in the lives of boys and young men of color.

A press conference is scheduled for April 9th beginning at 10 a.m. at Purdue Northwest Extension located at 2291 N. Main St. in Crown Point (directly across from the Lake County Government Center, where My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Lake County will be introduced.

The MBK Alliance is a national initiative formed by President Barak Obama in response to Trayvon Martin’s tragic death to address opportunity gaps that exist for boys and young men of color. MBK aims to address disparities and create opportunities for young men and boys of color and has a proven track record of making positive impact on the lives of young men in communities across the country.

One of the key tenets of MBK is that every young person deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential. Unfortunately, many young men of color in Lake County face systemic and structural obstacles that can prevent them from accessing the resources they need to succeed. “By establishing an MBK county-wide presence, we can create a network of support and mentorship that can help these young men navigate these challenges and realize their dreams,” said MBK Champion and Lake County Prosecutor Bernard A. Carter. “Providing young men and boys of color the support, resources and opportunities they need to succeed, we can help to build a brighter future for all residents of Lake County,” Carter added. “We are proud to partner with Edgewater Health and Dr. Danita Johnson-Woods, CEO, who serves as the community backbone organization for this important initiative.”

“The MBK approach includes six milestones that research shows are predictive of later success and where interventions can have the greatest impact:

Milestone 1: Entering School Ready to Learn
Milestone 2: Reading at Grade Level by Third Grade
Milestone 3: Graduate from High School
Milestone 4: Complete Post-Secondary Education or Training
Milestone 5: All Youth out of School are employed
Milestone 6: All Youth Remain Safe from Violent Crime

Currently, Lake County MBK has identified three milestones to focus on initially: Milestone 1 Entering School Ready to learn and Milestone 2 Reading at Grade Level by Third Grade are chaired by retired pediatrician and Founder of the Gary Literacy Coalition Dr. Steve Simpson. Milestone 5 Complete Post-Secondary Education and Training is co-chaired by Jose G. Valtierra and Marcus Williams,” said Johnson-Woods.

One of the most powerful aspects of My Brother’s Keeper is its focus on building strong relationships between young men and caring adult mentors. Research has shown that young people who have a supportive adult in their lives are more likely to succeed academically, professionally, and personally. “By connecting young men in Lake County with mentors who can provide guidance, encouragement, and support, we can help them build the skills and confidence they need to thrive,” Carter said. I believe that the presence of MBK in Lake County could have a significant and lasting effect on our community,” Carter concluded.

Residents of Lake County are more than welcome to attend. Please email Myrna Maldonado at