MILWAUKEE — Sometimes it's the basic skills that we overlook that are the most important. One organization in Milwaukee is making sure young men are given the proper tools to succeed as an adult.
"There's someone here that can actually show them the way to become a young man," Robert Boyd, the founder of B.R.O.S. said. It stands for Brothers Rising Over Our Streets.
B.R.O.S. is a mentorship program for young Black men in Milwaukee that teaches them basic life skills to succeed as men in the future. Some of the topics covered are financial literacy, proper interview etiquette and attire, how to tie a tie, how to hold a conversation, and much more.
"I’m transparent. I let them know where I came from, and I let them know that I'm not perfect, and I never was perfect, but I strive every day to try to get there," Boyd said.
He just started B.R.O.S. in October of 2020. He wanted to make sure young Black men had the male mentorship he never got.
“Just being as a kid I lost both my parents before when I was five years old.”
He is thankful for his two aunts that raised him, but he says they couldn’t provide him what his dad could have - a father figure. He doesn’t want anyone else to have the same problem.
“The biggest thing I want them to take away is to become that man. To become that father to become that husband and to be an outstanding citizen of the city of Milwaukee.”
But he also wants to empower his students to become the best versions of themselves possible.
The inaugural class was made of up 10 students. A few of them admitted they didn't want to even be part of the program at first.
“At first I didn’t want to do it," Josiah Johnson, 15, said.
“I didn’t really want to go cause I thought it was going to be boring and not fun," Willie Cason, 12, said.
“Actually to be honest I didn’t really want to come to B.R.O.S.," Marvell Cason, 17 and Willie's brother, said.
However, after 12 weeks they are glad they took these classes and they said they learned valuable lessons.
"He trying to fix our life up before it gets ruined and stuff like that cause like the environment that we in right now,” Johnson said. "There’s a lot of kids like younger kids our age out here like dying and being killed."
There is one key message that Boyd emphasizes the most which connects each individual lesson.
"Your reality doesn’t have to be someone else's perception," Boyd said.
It's something Boyd thinks everyone can benefit from.
"And I want people to understand this is not for a young man who doesn’t have a father. This is not for a young man who is in a poor household. This is for young man period. Because like I said, we are teaching them to become an older adult.”
The inaugural class has a 'graduation' banquet at 3:30 pm on Feb. 28 at El Bethel church. The students will come dressed nicely and read an essay they wrote about how to make the community they live in safer for their future families.
Boyd wants to begin a new class soon after, though. You can get in touch with him by clicking on this link.