Greensboro participating in ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The City of Greensboro has accepted a challenge from the White House to help children from low income families reach their full potential.

The city will do that through the "My Brother's Keeper" initiative.

"The fact that this is looking at kids from birth through late teens and early college really just fit the niche we were looking at," said Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan.

The goal is to help young people connect with mentors and local resources. Vaughan says the program will cover everything from children's nutrition to housing.

"We know the number one determining factor of how successful a child will be in school is what their third grade reading level is at third grade, so we'll be focusing on giving families the tools to help their kids be successful," said Vaughan.

The United Way of Greater Greensboro is partnering with the city on the initiative.

"We see that our community is not any different from the rest of the United States in that young people, especially young boys of color, are lagging in test scores and a lot of academic success factors," said Frank McCain, Vice president of community investment and impact at the United Way of Greater Greensboro.

McCain says the mentoring will be a big part of the My Brother's Keeper initiative. He says similar mentoring programs in Guilford County Schools have already led to better academic performance in the classroom.

"We've seen reduced tardiness and absenteeism at the schools, and we've seen an increase in parental involvement. So mentoring works," said McCain. "We see very little of programs working together in a collective way to address needs -- this is what My Brother's Keeper will be for our community."

Anyone interested in being a mentor in the program can contact the City of Greensboro or the United Way of Greater Greensboro.