BALTIMORE—On a recent Saturday, over 250 families lined up and received coats, gloves, hats, and scarves in preparation for the winter season all thanks to Brothers In Action, Inc. Brothers In Action, Inc., a non-profit organization, founded in 2013 serves and mentors young people ages 12 to 21. Brothers In Action, inc. is a male mentoring program that teaches young Black and Latino youth about character, respect, and confidence. The group strives to mentor young males to become progressive members for change and productive citizens of their community.
The organization’s pledge is simple: We Are Brothers. We Are Leaders. We Are Strong. We Are the Future. The Future is now so help us help you. Each year, the group participates in clean-up community projects, coat drives, and clothing drives. This year, the Covid-19 pandemic halted various projects and mentoring in-person sessions, but the heart and passion continues to positively impact Baltimore, Maryland.
Covid-19 could not stop Brothers In Action, Inc.’s annual coat drive. Unlike previous years where the organization services a few schools such as the historic Booker T. Washington Middle School for the Arts in West Baltimore, the organization decided to open the coat drive to the entire Baltimore community. Although the Nov. 21 event started at 10:00 a.m., lines formed as early as 8:45 a.m. The event started off with a prayer from a family member waiting in line for a coat who felt: “The urge to pray because what y’all brothers are doing is beautiful.”
Afterwards, Anthony Peña, the executive director of Brothers In Action, inc., opened up and welcomed all guest and he thanked all the sponsors and donors. He provided updates about the program and what events are forthcoming. The event had a youth DJ named “DeeJayIzzy” who played songs and had the people celebrating and dancing while they waited.
“Seeing the faces of the kids out there made me so happy! Knowing that what I’m doing is making the kids of the future happy! This is what I’m here for, to empower and educate the youth of tomorrow,” said William Crest, Jr., one of the organization’s mentors.
When asked why it matters to be a part of events such as the coat drive, Mr. Crest noted: “I look at it like we can make a change that you can look at and then say, yes change has been made and will continue to be made until better days have come.”
It was clear from the event that the mentors were invested in the community and youth enjoyed speaking with the mentors. Many single mothers approached the mentors and signed their children up for mentoring and pleaded for the group to continue their efforts because it is what the city needs.
Brothers In Action, Inc. has mentored youth and as a result, some of the mentees have attended college, others pursued careers, and unfortunately some were killed due to gun violence. However, the organization continues to fight for youth and continues to support grieving families. Currently, one mentee, Mikell, is a student at University of Southern California studying aerospace engineering. In a city that saw 300 murders a year since 2015 and where many Black youth under 25 have lost their lives to gun violence, Brothers In Action, inc. is committed to doing their part to help and shape lives. The work is not easy but events such as the coat drive and clean-up help youth find their passion and teaches them it is their obligation to serve their communities.
—Submitted by Anthony Peña