Brothers of Ujima

Article excerpt

Brothers of Ujima BROTHERS OF UJIMA: Cultural EnrJchment Program to Empower Adolescent African American Males By F. Z. Belgrave, K. W. Allison, J. Wilson, & R. Tademy 2OII, Research Press


Children spend the vast majority of their time in school, where they are exposed to and acquire much more than the carefully planned lessons of their teachers. For every academic skill taught, a number of social skills are also developed. Brothers of Ufima: Cultural Enrichment Program to Empower Adolescent Males, is a social-emotional learning (SEL) program intended for African Americanmales who are at the beginning Stages of their identity development (ages 10-14). The goal of Brothers of Ujima is to guide adolescent African American males toward becoming productive, capable individuals. The curriculum focuses on assisting participants to develop a positive view of what it is to be an African American man by contradicting negative stereotypes, supporting healthy relationships among group members, and becoming aware of community resources. Upon completion of the program, it is expected that participants will have a newfound pride in themselves and their culture.

The 2-hour sessions delivered across 14 weeks provide content deeply rooted in African history and culture. Each lesson reflects one of the eight principles of African American living: Umoja (Unity), Kujichangulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Teamwork) Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), Imani (Faith), and Heshema (Respect). The authors have formatted the lessons in a highly organized, sequential curriculum designed to actively engage the boys through different connective strategies, allowing them a better understanding of program content and objectives. In this after-school program, participants learn in family-like groups of eight members led by one African American adult male. Within each lesson, a consistent sequence of events is presented, including opening and closing rituals carried out with the other small groups. The authors provide the needed materials (e.g., handouts, activity templates) within the manual, allowing for straightforward implementation. …


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