“IYT….. The Brotherhood!”
This is how Michael Lynch & Michael Casper, Co-Founders of IYT, kicked off the 5th annual College Bound Brother’s Commencement. The power echoing from 30+ young men of color showed and symbolized their commitment to one another and their communities through education.
Improve Your Tomorrow (IYT) is a “community-based organization focused on increasing the number of young men of color to attend and graduate from colleges and universities.” They use “twelve years of wrap around academic services from middle school through college to support their scholars.” IYT went through our Fast Pitch program in 2016 and shared that “SVP Fast Pitch served as an invaluable opportunity to define our organization’s pitch, build relationships with community stakeholders, and improve IYT’s visibility in the community.”
A common theme that was shown throughout the entirety of the ceremony was a commitment to their values of being resilient, authentic, and passionate. From every speaker to every young man that ran through the tunnel of brothers to receive their certificate demonstrated these values.
The IYT team recognized a number of community partners that have played a pivotal role in acting as a change-agent for the community.
Those recognized were:
- Dr. Ed Mills, Vice President for Student Affairs at Sacramento State
- Christopher Hoffman, Superintendent of Elk Grove Unified School District
- Priscilla Enriquez, Chief Impact & Strategy Officer at The Sacramento Region Community Foundation
- Kais Menoufy & Cheryl Miles-Menoufy
After recognizing those listed above a powerful keynote address was delivered by Felipe Hernandez, who is attending Harvard Law School and currently working as IYT’s Program Specialist & Grants Manager. The IYT graduates welcomed him to the stage with a chant calling him “Superman”. After he shared his personal story about the truth of power and the role education plays in achieving it as well as the role proximity plays in limiting power we understood why they call him “Superman”.
The ceremony was closed by Jorge Aguilar, Superintendent of Sacramento City Unified School District after seeing each graduate run through the tunnel of their brothers to receive their completion certificate. Aguilar shared his congratulations to the graduates, but in addition, challenged them to take responsibility for the power gained through their education and to use this opportunity to take up a cause and create change.