City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # CM:071718
20 Youth Develop Public Engagement Skills Through My Brother’s Keeper Youth Leadership Program
Marcina Riley, MBK Initiative Coordinator
Office of Equity
Department of Health and Human Services

Six months after the launch of the inaugural My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Youth Leadership Program in January 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) Office of Equity wrapped up the Program with a presentation to City Council where participants from the MBK Youth Leadership Program showcased their training, teambuilding, and outreach efforts.

“I would like to thank the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance for their support and our Office of Equity team for their hard work in making the first Long Beach MBK Youth Leadership Program possible,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “This is a great youth empowerment initiative, and I am excited to see the amazing things that these young leaders will go on to do.”

The Health Department received a $100,000 grant from the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBKA) to support the City’s MBK Initiative, as well as to establish the City’s first-ever MBK Youth Leadership Program.

Vice Mayor Rex Richardson praised the MBK Youth Leadership Program, calling it “an amazing opportunity for young people from across Long Beach to learn the skills they need to be a voice for change in their communities.” Vice Mayor Richardson further stated that, “this is an important step toward building a youth voice in the decision-making process for our City.”

The MBK Youth Leadership Program staff recruited a cohort of local Long Beach youth, ages 16 to 20, from schools across the city. Throughout the six-month program, participants met bi-weekly and developed their skills in leadership and public engagement, and conducted outreach to over 300 of their peers on the health and equity issues that are most important to them. Upon completion of the Program, each youth participant received a $500 stipend for their hard work and outreach efforts.

“This program helped me learn about our community and the people in it, and actually being involved in that helped me feel like I’m a part of the City,” said Christopher Zarate, MBK Youth Leadership Program participant.

Joshua Garibay, another participant of the Program, stated, “I liked that we were able to talk about problems happening in our community and see how we’re able to solve them and make them better.”

Former President Barack Obama launched the MBK Initiative in January 2014, and Long Beach joined the challenge a year later as part of its violence prevention plan, Safe Long Beach. Vice Mayor Rex Richardson and Councilmembers Lena Gonzalez, Roberto Uranga and Al Austin sponsored an item that the City Council adopted in January 2015, making Long Beach one of 200 cities nationwide to support the former president’s community challenge.

For more information about MBK, those interested can email:

About the City of Long Beach

Home to approximately 480,000 people, the multiple award-winning and innovative City of Long Beach offers all the world-class amenities of a large metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods nestled together along the California coast. As a full-service charter city, Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, several museums and theaters, a highly-rated school district, Long Beach Airport, the Port of Long Beach, as well as many award-winning City departments such as Health, Parks, Recreation and Marine, Development Services and more. The City also has a highly-respected university and city college, two historic ranchos, five hospitals, five golf courses, 170 parks, miles of beaches, marinas, bike paths, and a Bike Share program.

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About Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services

The mission of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is to improve quality of life by promoting a safe and healthy community in which to live, work and play. Long Beach Health is one of only three city-run health departments in California, which allows for better engagement with residents, neighborhoods, businesses and community partners, and fosters a greater understanding of the City's strengths. For more information, visit us at, "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

About My Brother’s Keeper Alliance

President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper in February 2014 to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color. To scale and sustain its mission, the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance was launched as a private sector entity in 2015. The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, along with cross-sector partners, works to accelerate impact in targeted communities, mobilize citizens and resources, and promote what works—all with the goal of encouraging mentorship, reducing youth violence, and improving life outcomes for boys and young men of color.

To ensure all young people can reach their full potential and to inspire and empower the next generation leaders, the work started by My Brother’s Keeper Alliance now continues as a project of the Obama Foundation.