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SA to begin president's My Brother's Keeper initiative

Initiative looks to keep minority teens on right path

SAN ANTONIO – The city of San Antonio has accepted a challenge put forth by President Obama to get young minorities on the path to success. It's all part of the "My Brother's Keeper" initiative.

"Most of my friends, everybody knows we're already black young men and most of them are looking for trouble," said Sam Houston High School junior Jawon Anderson.

It's statements like Anderson's that provoked San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor to say, "Challenge accepted, President Obama."

It's programs like My Brother's Keeper that keep teens like Anderson out of trouble.

"A lot of times that goes a long way toward preventing them getting involved in activities that end up being negative or violent," Taylor said.

The initiative is targeting Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans and Asians to stay in school, graduate, go to college and lead productive lives.

"According to the program's executive summary, in San Antonio, men of color often drop out of high school and don't go to college," Taylor said. "They're also more likely to be victims of violent crimes and end up in the system, often times becoming repeat offenders."

A lot of the young men come from streets where crime and violence is part of their norm.

"When you go home, you can't fight not going home, but when I come to school it makes me focus even harder, like I've got to get away from home, got to get away from home, and that's the closest thing to it going to school," Anderson said.

Staying on the right path will be the true test of My Brother's Keeper.

"I've got to surround myself with people that are on the same path as me, so that's pretty much what I'm looking for in a friendship right now," Anderson said.

San Antonio is starting the program on the East Side at Sam Houston and Harlandale high schools.