2019 – Double Sized Issue

Relationship Event

7 Ladies came to help our men understand relationships with women better.

“I was with this female the other day,” said a youth in the program. Maybe you have not heard this before but we hear teens referring to any and all women as ‘female’. Referring to a woman as ‘female’ instead of by name is an early and concerning sign of the objectification of women. This leads to denying the person-hood, valueand emotions of a woman. How do you teach youth to respect women? How do you teach them to treat women as equals? Especially when the examples they have are so problematic and even destructive.

Foundational to MUST is our curriculum ‘8 Things That Make a Man’. The major hole you and MUST are trying to fill in our guys lives is a lack of positive male role models. Youth and Mentors work on 2 qualities each year they are in the program. In the second year we teach youth and mentors that a man 1) Faces his fears and 2) A man knows how to cherish a woman and treat her as an equal. Youth and mentors talk about these over breakfast throughout the year.


We had two breakout sessions and one panel discussion.

Each quarter MUST presents a workshop style Learning Event. In the fall we taught youth How to Retire a Millionaire. This quarter’s event was titled Healthy Relationships with Women. In the past we have also done a Dating Forum to help our youth and mentors understand how a woman should be treated when in a dating relationship. This quarter MUST invited 8 African American women to come speak to our youth about how to cherish women and treat them as equals. There were two breakout sessions; Communication and Three Types of Love (selfish, mutual and selfless). The workshop ended with a question and answer forum. The ladies were given several questions in advance and then youth and mentors were free to ask them questions. You as MUST supporters are helping teach our men how to treat women well.

FAST FACTS: Each prisoner cost the nation $36,299.25 ($99.45 per day) in FY 2017.

Student Update

Basketball event… Mentors vs Youth.

Daniel’s dad has been in and out of jail. It is hard to portray how this affects a child when they are growing up. Not only is Daniel’s dad absent but when he does come home he brings all the baggage that jail sends with him. Jail did not reform Daniel’s dad, it made him worse. Daniel’s mom has also been to prison, she is verbally abusive and is not a stable influence in his life. He does not have enough food to eat at times. He bounces from house to house to various living situations. No one in his family has graduated from high school. Daniel will probably follow in his dad’s footsteps because this is the reality he knows.

How would you have turned out if this was your life story and that of your friends? Would your grades have suffered if no one was there to ask you about them? Would you have smoked some weed to medicate the pain you felt? Would you have stolen to get money for food and clothes?


Daniel’s path is starting to look different
after almost 2 years in MUST.


Daniel’s path is starting to look different after almost 2 years in MUST. We helped him transition to an alternative high school and he is doing well there. He is staying out of trouble and has not been convicted of any crimes. Daniel lost an opportunity at a job program called FareStart because of his family member. MUST intervened and got him reinstated and he as since had 92% attendance. Daniel has a long way to go but you as MUST supporters will be there to help him. It looks like he will now graduate high school and is even talking about college. You are helping make that happen!

The MUST Misson: MUST is dedicated to finding promising African American men in college and paying them to mentor African American youth who are in genuine danger of dropping out of high school. The younger watches the older for 4 years and begins to think, “If he can do it… so can I!”

Recruiting Season

Inner-tubing event. It was the first time for many.

This is by far the busiest time of year for MUST. It is recruiting season. Kelvin, our Area Director, is busy interviewing potential mentors and youth for our next cohort. We put out the word in the spring and ask if you know of any African American college students who would make great mentors? Please send them our way. We would love to meet them!

We are also busy recruiting youth. MUST is looking for rising 8th graders – African American guys who will be freshman at either Garfield HS, Franklin HS, Cleveland HS or Rainier Beach HS in the fall. MUST is laser focused on those who are in the most danger of dropping out of high school so if you know someone in need of MUST’s positive intervention, please send them our way!

The Results:

After nearly 7 years of working with the most vulnerable youth MUST has produced outstanding results.

Estimated Social ROI: 6.59
Estimated Net Lifetime Benefit to Society: $5.5M
New Juvenile Convictions: 13%
Estimated High School Graduation Rate: 76%
College Attendance: 60%
Prison Sentences of Graduates: 0

Kelvin’s Korner

Kelvin… changing lives.

Let’s Be Real

There is power in empathy, yet the soul and heart of teaching has been lost. The failure to understand the cultural reality that Black males face daily is an obstacle in today’s education system. Teachers must view education through a multicultural lens and acknowledge a diverse philosophy, while remaining focused on: (1) being empathic, (2) forming relationships, and (3) having
patience regardless of race and gender. The majority of schools today are focused on test results above their students’ reality, even though the U.S. claims education is the equalizer for success. Certainly, education affords the opportunity and provides availability to create new possibilities, but it is very difficult to believe that individuals expect a “one-way” education system to produce equitable education to and for all to experience.

Regardless of students’ race, teachers that impart knowledge and teach from an empathetic, relational, and patient pedagogy, give true opportunities for dreams to become realities, not nightmares, especially for minority students. Realizing these practices are tools that all culturally responsive teachers should use, one must understand the U.S. education system doesn’t appear to fully engage minority students; therefore teachers must sincerely and seriously transform education to meet the highest moral standards, while remaining a part of the U.S. system. — Kelvin

MUST QUOTES: “They help me at school definitely. They make sure if I am failing a class I get back to passing. They give me gift cards for food and
help with clothes for school… My mentor tells me what he has been through so I won’t go through the same thing.” — MUST Youth

Just the Facts, Please


In the last newsletter we showed how the incarceration rates for the U.S. shot up dramatically in the 1980’s as the ‘War on Drugs’ was renewed. So how do those rates compare with the rest of the world? The United States incarcerates 698 people per every 100,000 individuals. As the graph to the left shows, this incarceration rate dwarfs other developed countries. America’s total prison population (2,121,600) is more than 7 times the total combined prison population of all the other countries on the list (295,395.00). Each prisoner cost the nation $36,299.25 ($99.45 per day) in FY
2017. 1 Imagine if we could point those resources to prevention and true rehabilitation. Those resources could be used for counseling, job training, housing… etc. You and MUST are helping reverse the U.S. incarceration rate by helping MUST’s youth



Housing – Would you consider buying MUST a house or letting us take care of yours while our college students stay there? Housing is a constant and urgent need.

Cars – MUST is always on the lookout for used cars for our mentors. We need about three new (used) cars each year. You can make it a tax deductible gift!

Food – Some of our youth and college age guys struggle with hunger. Would you mail us some gift cards from Subway, Safeway or QFC?

Funding – Would you consider helping us meet our $150K fundraising goal this year for new funds?


Part of MUST’s feedback request form asks respondents to describe MUST in one word. Here is what people said this year about what you are helping MUST do!

Testimonials Given by: Mentors, Graduated Youth, Current Youth, Families and Community Partners MUST


Transformative – As a mentor, this program has offered me the opportunity to be an agent of transformation in the lives of the youth. MUST is a core part of my life and provides an outlet through which I can make positive change in the lives of my mentees. It has given me a sense of purpose to which I am committed to. — Felix, Mentor

Real – I chose this word because our mentors, mentee’s, and coaches all keep it real with each other. Everyone is included and anyone who is having a bad day or excludes themselves is immediately recognized and loved to the fullest potential. No one has to be shy because we are a family. — Marcus, Mentor

Passionate – I picked passionate because we all have the drive to change the lives of the people around us. We all chose to be active in the positive approach to empowering the community. I feel it’s our duty to help change the culture surrounding our community. — Marvin, Mentor

Inspiring – The outreach and work that we’re doing to inspire the youth to be better and help them reach their goals is truly humbling and is good work. — Khadar, Mentor

Intentional – Intentional is the perfect word I can use to describe MUST. Intentionality starts from the very top with the owner and area director and trickles down to the coaches, to the mentors and to the students. The overarching theme is of the program is for every individual to feel known and that starts with care and intentionality. — DJ, Mentor

Caring – I chose the must program because this was a program that cared about mentees & mentors. They make sure mentor are taken care of while also giving them the tools to help the young men & their future as well. — Todd, Mentor

Love – All the guys have a lot of love for each other. Some of us grew up together while other just met. No matter how long we have known each other for we have a strong bond and have each other’s back until the end. — Aaron, Mentor


Graduated MUST Youth

Family – I chose the word “Family” because that’s what MUST is and the mentors would go above and beyond for the kids. The Activities the program take us on are nothing but laughter and bonding time and get to know our mentors more than just a mentor. Family is the feeling that you get from these mentors because that’s what they treat us like, and they’ll do anything imaginable to help us with anything. From getting help from school, to help getting us enrolled into college, to getting a job if you need one, and to any family problem we deal and help us get through those tough times. The mentors really show what it means to be a great role model and the right way to become a productive citizen and take your time in this world we call life. They give us so much motivation to do better you can’t do anything but do better and they’ll get on get on us like a big brother if we don’t do better when we are better. The wisdom is what I look forward to cause their good or bad experience in things help me do better in whatever I do in life such as school and work. So when I think of MUST all I think about is family cause some of us come from broken families and the mentors in the program really give the us the kids the love that we need due to whatever we go through at home and I’m thankful for everything they do for us cause not a lot of people would want to become a big brother/ Mentor for kids that they think are bad and ignorant, but in reality we just need someone that listen and care. — Toree, Former Mentee and Current College Student

Everything – As being one of the first members it helped me out a lot. Not only did MUST help keep me fed they also taught me how to become a better man, and choose better patterns in my life. — Shyheem, Former Mentee and High School Graduate

Current MUST Youth

Fun – It is good to get out of my comfort zone and do something else. I get to do things I have never done before. Learn things because of the new experiences. — David, Mentee

Amazing – The word I would pick is amazing. You don’t see a lot of programs like this. You don’t see guys who care about us. The mentors look out for us. The things we get to do are fun and cool. They’re lit. — Elijah, Mentee

Cool – You get to meet new people and try new things. The mentors help you grow and teach you new things. — Anonymous, Mentee

Opportunity – I feel like it is an opportunity because you can use your mentor as a way to guide ourselves. My mentor has helped me by helping me understand stuff and school. — Che, Mentee

Caring – They help me with my stuff school and at home. They teach you real life situations. They ask what you are going through. They care because they ask my teacher how I am doing. — Gary, Mentee

Amazing – MUST is amazing because it is life changing because we try new things that we wouldn’t normally try when we were on our own in life. We do fun things. We make friends with people that use to be our enemies. — Jermaine, Mentee

Loyalty – MUST is loyal because they are there when you need them. You can talk to them about anything. My mentor was with me for a long time until I was suppose to graduate. — Israel, Mentee

Brotherhood – MUST is brotherhood because is a community where I can hang out with some of my friends. It is a group I enjoy being around and I can trust. It is a fun group. — Malik, Mentee

Fun – MUST is fun because the experience that the mentors give you is helpful. We do activities that aren’t boring. That are actually fun to do. You want to be a part of it. — Bakari, Mentee

Family – MUST is family because everyone looks out for each other. The mentors do not show favorites. Everyone treats each other like family. — Josiah, Mentee

Family – I chose family because I know when I need advice and help with my problems the MUST program has always been there to help and support me. No matter how many times I screw up they will forever have my back. — Cornell, Mentee

Opportunity – It gives at-risk African American males and opportunity they would not get in a low income environment. It gives you different experiences that might lead into different
careers. — Jerome, Mentee



Indebted – The one word I’d use to describe how I feel about MUST is Indebted. The MUST program came at a time in my and my son’s lives at that we really needed it. — Shalonie, Parent

Incredible – I would like to say MUST is an incredible mentoring program. — Barbara, Guardian

Dedication – I use dedication because this is all I have experienced since my grandson joined this program. Dedication to weekly meeting, dedication when my grandson was moved from school to school, dedication when there were negative situations in his life. MUST has proven to be dedicated and have been a plus in my and my grandson’s life. — Mary, Guardian

Support – I think of the word SUPPORT. The M.U.S.T. program has supported my son through all levels of school. They also supported him in his sporting endeavors, by attending his games as well. Being that support system one needs in their life. — Elimika, Parent

Strength – It helps young man no the strength they have in overcoming obstacles and bettering their lives for the future. — Guardian

Empowering – The kids feel part of a positive group that cares about their success and an opportunity to share life together. — Shannon, Guardian

Excellent – Because the program helped my kid in so many ways. The one thing about the program is that they don’t give up. No matter how the child is. We are grateful for Rick. He is a blessing to have in our lives. — Cheniqua, Guardian

Committed – I use committed because no matter what is being done or scheduled, this group of mentors are always there on time and paying attention to what is happening in a young man’s life, and what they can do to give them a positive and real way to help them to grow and be successful in what they are doing. — Fritz, Guardian

Committed – MUST has been incredibly committed to helping my very hard to reach foster son. They show up for him over and over again, attempting to engage him, and working hard to keep him from being self destructive. — Guardian

Community Partners

Smart – Not only is the program cost-effective, it is forward-thinking. It makes long-term financial sense to invest now in our community through a proven mentorship-model program. It also makes humanitarian sense, providing opportunities to those who, through no fault of their own, have been disadvantaged. — Ben, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, King County Prosecutor

Committed – MUST had been mentoring the child I was working with for many years. It was clear the child respected, appreciated, and knew he could rely on MUST to support him. MUST never gave up on him and always made the time to communicate with myself, his family, or the court. — Ailee, Attorney, The Defender Association Division, King County Department of Public Defense

Commitment – The MUST mentor was keeping in touch with the probation counselor and seeing the client in person every week. MUST provide updates to probation, attending ALL court hearings and letting the youth know that they have another person to talk to about positive solutions. — Karla, Lead Juvenile Probation Counselor, King County Juvenile Court

Supportive – They were first and foremost supportive of the young man and then supportive of the family, and me. — Toko, Probation Officer, King County Juvenile Court

Relationship – MUST creates an environment where trusting relationships can be developed and nurtured. It takes time, effort, patience and persistence when doing the work of mentoring youth. This is what MUST does so well. — Daniel, School Counselor, Garfield High School

Accessibility – Accessibility is the word I think of. When I was working with one of my struggling students–MUST came in at anytime we needed them, to support the academic/behavioral plan we came up with that particular student. — School Counselor, Seattle School District

Necessity – It’s a necessity for our African American males to have positive men in their lives. — Kwajalein, Safety and Security, Seattle Public Schools

Committed – Committed to the process of helping are Young Black Men be successful in all areas in there life. And supporting then through the real life struggles. — Porcia, Intervention Specialist, Garfield High School


There are three good studies that show how much society progressively benefits if a youth goes from dropping out of high school to graduating, or being established in a career after high school, or doing some college, or graduating college or getting a masters degree.1 Since there are three different studies measuring the same thing we can have a fairly accurate picture. A conservative projection of MUST youth who have been in the program at least one year shows that MUST has a social ROI (return on investment) of 6.59. For every $1 you donate to MUST it benefits the community $6.59 in social costs (justice system, healthcare, welfare… etc.).


For every 1$ you donate to MUST it benefits the community $6.59.


Will you consider helping MUST meets its $150K new funds goal and/or meet one of the ongoing needs listed to the right? Your generous gifts are helping change lives in radical ways. You are helping not only this generation of students but their children and their children’s children. That is about exciting as it gets if you ask us.

You can make donations directly to MUST!

Checks are payable to Mentoring Urban Students and Teens
EIN Tax ID: 47-3006113
4093 Letitia Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118