Helping Young Black Men Go To College

 

The Blue Heart Foundation empowers underserved Black youth in grades 7 through 12 to pursue a college education. Since its inception in 2013, the Foundation has served 450 young Black men and impacted over 10,000 individuals, families, organizations, businesses and schools in San Diego County. With a 100% college acceptance rate, they have successfully helped their young men graduate from high school and go to college.

“The Blue Heart Foundation gives our young Black men a platform to find their voice, understand themselves and become the next generation of leaders for San Diego.” – Andrew Strong, Director of Equity & Racial Justice for the County of San Diego

When the pandemic forced Blue Heart to cease in-person programming, its members lost a variety of opportunities – college visits, public speaking events, field trips and internship experiences. Despite the mental, emotional and academic impact of shifting to remote learning, the young men of Blue Heart continued their commitment to college preparation. Blue Heart pivoted to an online structure, offering a weekly curriculum, professional speakers, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) workshops and peer mentoring.

“The Blue Heart Foundation is a proud advocate for African American males to have access to positive life outcomes. While we understand there are various pathways to success, at Blue Heart we expose young men of color to non-athletic pathways that lead to careers of the future. We are grateful to both our partners and parents who entrust us with the lives of their children and resources that sustain our work.” – Staci Dent, Blue Heart Foundation Board Member

Blue Heart also launched Mindful Heart, a mental health and emotional wellness program to promote mindfulness and to address anxiety, depression and emotional stability – issues at times left unattended in the Black community.

“In the workshop, I learned breathing techniques and that mindfulness was a purposeful act. I am excited to start meditating… 30 minutes a day. Just me and my thoughts.” – Josiah Johnson, Blue Heart President, Class of 2021

Through support from companies like San Diego Gas & Electric and its Inspiring Future Leaders giving initiative, Blue Heart members and mentors are able to develop workshops specifically for STEM careers. In addition to learning team building skills and project management, they explore STEM careers in energy. STEM has become a key aspect of programming at Blue Heart, as it offers young Black men critical thinking skills and confidence building opportunities. This year’s STEM project, for example, challenges the young men to build and program an interactive, exercise “smart mirror” with facial recognition capability based on Raspberry Pi technology and HTML coding.

“Over the past few years, I have had the fortune to volunteer with the Blue Heart Foundation, and it is amazing to see how dynamic and brilliant these young men are. The Blue Heart Foundation is more than just an organization, it is a family, it is a brotherhood.” – Josh Williams, SDG&E Electrical Engineer

Community support and partnerships play a critical role in enabling Blue Heart to serve all the essential needs of its members and their families. To learn more about The Blue Heart Foundation or to lend your support, please visit theblueheartfoundation.org.