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Brothers for Success

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Brothers for Success

Empowering males of color to pursue a college education and succeed in life!


Brothers for Success (BFS) is a partnership between LEAP for Education (LEAP), the School of Education at Salem State University (SSU), and Salem High School (SHS). The goal of BFS is to facilitate the successful transition from high school to college for a cohort of 15 males of color from SHS.

Starting in October 2016, students will participate in 6 bi-weekly sessions focused on establishing trust and building cohesion within the group.  Within the broader framework of College Readiness, students will explore issues, challenges and opportunities that are specific to young men of color.  Dialogue centered sessions will be facilitated by Dr. Steven Oliver, Assistant Professor at Salem State University and include current SSU students who will give first-hand accounts of their current experiences.


October 20; November 3 and 17; December 1 and 15
6:00 – 8:00 PM (light dinner will be served)
LEAP for Education and Salem State University
Between February and May, students will continue to meet once a month with Dr. Oliver and will receive 4 college and career workshops (each session to be 1.5 – 2 hours) with staff from LEAP for Education, Inc.


Taylor MacDonald (Email)
978-740-6667 ext. 118



Steven Thurston Oliver graduated from New York University with a PhD in sociology of education. Prior to working at SSU, Steven was the assistant vice president for institutional diversity at the University of Kentucky. A sociologist and qualitative researcher, his research explores the ways in which race, class, gender, and LGBT identity impacts educational opportunity and academic achievement in secondary and higher education.

FALL SESSIONS (Bi-Weekly Oct./Dec.)

Imagining a life 

  • Students will explore a range of possibilities for their future careers, and reflect on how their general areas of interest correspond with specific career paths. In addition to contemplating future work life, students will focus on creating a vision for their personal lives i.e. what would bring them satisfaction and joy.

Understanding and Overcoming Structural Barriers

  • What does it mean to be a man of color within the context of our society? Students will gain a deeper understanding of structural barriers to success and the strategies that many have used to overcome them.

Building Networks of Support

  • Students will examine various aspects of masculinity, specifically the myth that asking for help is a sign of weakness and consider how they might develop “help seeking behavior” and encourage it in each other.

Developing Personal Agency

  • Students will reflect on aspects of their own personality, habits of mind, and behavior that may function to impede their ability to be successful. Students will explore the habits of successful individuals and develop a plan for practicing these behaviors within the context of their own lives.

College Readiness

  • Students will assess their current academic standing at SHS and develop a plan for utilizing the remainder of their time in high school as an opportunity to practice the skills that will help them be successful in college.

College Exploration

  • Students will be introduced to a broad range of types among colleges and universities (i.e. public and private, large and small, conservative and liberal etc.) and begin to imagine the kind of college/university that may be a good fit for them. This session will be a prelude to the detailed work the cohort will engage in with the staff of LEAP starting in February.