CHICAGO (WLS) --Empowering and educating young men of color. That's the mission of a new organization that officially launched this month.
Brown Sons Empowered launched its first book club meeting this month focused on making sure young boys are getting the education they need.
"We did some research. We realized that there was really no where our young boys to go between the ages of 5 and 15. There are a number of organizations that help collegiate level boys, but we all know that it starts early," said Ingrid Morris, the founder of Brown Sons Empowered.
Ingrid Morris founded the organization. She has a son of her own and, seeing the daily news headlines, she knew something had to be done.
"We knew we had a problem with where our boys were heading and we knew we wanted to change the trajectory of their lives so now we are launching with our national book club, we have almost 300 members. We've adopted one school, Nicholson STEM academy in Englewood, which we're very proud to be partnering with them," said Ingrid Morris, the founder of Brown Sons Empowered.
New York Jets running back Matt Forte was the special guest reader for the inaugural book club meeting because, for him, Chicago is still home.
"My wife is from here too and all my in-laws and the other side of the family is from here, definitely is our home especially me being here since I played here so long. It's always important to reach out to young men, especially young black men, because there are not a lot of positive male role models in today's culture, or that you see on TV, or on social media as well because everybody knows that social media has run wild. A lot of times TVs are raising the kids, so if I can be that shining light for them and be a mentor to them via being a role model then that's what I want to do," said Matt Forte, New York Jets running back.
Parents on hand say there aren't nearly enough positive outlets like this and they are grateful.
"We really take the time to the effort and time, I do, to try to take the effort and time to try to find events like this. They are really far and few between and we were really excited to be able to support this one," said mother Ericka Anderson.
Brown Sons Empowered first initiative is a program call "Read Up," which makes sure the young men in the program are reading at least one grade level about their age.
For more information, visit brownsonsempowered.org.