My Brother's Keeper


My Brother's Keeper

Now in it’s second full year at the Elmira City School District, the My Brother’s Keeper program in Elmira is growing strategically and thoughtfully so that real progress can be made. Community mentors and agency leaders have joined our ECSD team to help students who are in need of a positive role model and support networks. Mentors can be found in the hallways of our middle and high school buildings and out in the community with youth -- guiding and steering students in the right direction.

My Brother’s Keeper, a grant-funded program, is focused on four milestones in Elmira:

1. Graduating from High School Ready for College and Career - All youth should receive a quality high school education and graduate with the skills and tools needed to advance to post-secondary education or training.

2. Completing Postsecondary Education or Training - Every student should have the option to attend postsecondary education and receive the education and training needed for the quality jobs of today and tomorrow.

3. Successfully Entering the Workforce - Anyone who wants a job should be able to get a job that allows them to support themselves and their families.

4. Keeping Kids on Track and Giving Them Second Chances - All youth and young adults should be given the opportunity to change their course and community mentors can help in the right direction.

MBK activities include weekly Meetups at EHS and Broadway Academy every Wednesday during the lunch period for students and mentors, youth voices forums on mental health, career exploration field trips, college and university tours, community visits like to the Corning Museum of Glass, and more.

Interested in Volunteering as a Mentor?

Mentors need to be able to commit to at least 6 hours a week, participate in a paid mentor training program and pass a background check.

Programming includes one-on-one family mentoring, community Listening Sessions, Parent Academies, and Resource Hubs, provided through the collaboration of district building administrators and staff, BRIDGE Navigators (family mentoring advocates), the district’s Family and Community Outreach Coordinators (FCOCs), School Resource Officers (SROs), and project partners.


Babatunde Ayanfodun
Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator
Pronouns: he/him/his
SUNY Corning Community College
607.962.9406 (office)
bayanfod [@]

Jarvis Marlow-McCowin
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Education Coordinator
My pronouns: he/him/his
Corning Incorporated | Office of Racial Equality & Social Unity (ORESU)
Elmira City School District
607-735-3034 (office)
jmccowin [@]

Program Background

In the summer of 2020, The District founded the Elmira Express Equity Initiative, a taskforce of staff, administrators, parents, teachers, and community partners, driven to act by the mutual recognition that cultural, personal, and structural barriers continue to inhibit opportunity and access for students and families. To bridge these barriers, the taskforce developed a strategic plan that has transitioned into the blueprint for the BRIDGE Project. These strategies will provide the process and organizational conditions necessary to increase the capacity of both school staff and families to engage in authentic partnerships that will support student and school improvement.
Project components draw from evidence-based models and expand district infrastructure to catalyze systemic, integrated, and sustained change in district practices and perspectives—embraced and driven by district leadership—that will build relationships founded on trust and respect and transform school climate through family development/engagement and culturally responsive education training for all staff and administrators; reimagining of the parent-teacher conference model to embrace collaborative problem-solving and skill-building; revision of curriculum; and expanding of opportunities for family decision-making and leadership through Parent Action Councils.

The BRIDGE Project will advance the goals of the MBK FCEP grant: to develop the knowledge and skills of school/district personnel, as well as families and community members; to increase required trust and relationships necessary to address student learning needs and abilities at each grade level; provide access to multi-level networks that foster respect and trust in building family relationships with the school and school community; create an environment where partnerships thrive in a comfortable, culturally diverse, and engaging atmosphere; and build child-centered roles for the school, family, and community that values student learning and social and emotional development as equal education partners.