The Jonesville Academy is presented by two youth-serving nonprofits, Boys to Men Leadership Group Kentucky, Inc. and For a Real Change, Inc. The Executive Directors for these two youth-serving 501c3 nonprofits began meeting in 2020 about a collaboration to close the achievement gap of Black and Brown young men and equip the next generation of Bowling Green youth to build self-confidence and become leaders in their schools and in our community. The two organizations have partnered to create the ambitious project providing holistic, life-changing support to boys and young men while aiming to honor the legacy of the vibrant Black community of Jonesville.
Mission and Vision
The Jonesville Academy program and curriculum are designed for Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, and multi-racial young men in grades 3-8 in Bowling Green and Warren County. Jonesville Academy Scholars are young men who themselves would like to accept the opportunity to extend their learning beyond their elementary, middle school, or junior high school to work toward a pathway to success that includes interactive learning from teachers of color, mentorship, networking, and community engagement with peers. Youth from all backgrounds can participate.
The mission of the Jonesville Academy is to equip underrepresented minority males with the tools necessary to succeed.
Our vision is to close the achievement gap while developing leadership and social skills and confidence amongst underrepresented minority males.
Why start the Jonesville Academy?
Jonesville Academy focuses on education, mentorship, and leadership to lessen the achievement gap of Black and Brown youth and their peers. The incorporation of a mentoring component sets the Jonesville Academy apart from other educational programs because it connects them with additional support for their social and emotional development. Studies show the link to mentoring and academic success and also a nationwide shortage of mentors for youth, and specifically black and brown youth.
The National Mentoring Resource Center provides a Black Males Population Review with research on mentoring that looks at different programs. According to the report, A quasi-experimental study of Benjamin E. Mays Institute (BEMI) mentoring program with a sample of mostly African-American (83% and 17% Latino) middle school students found that participants in the mentoring program (n = 29) had higher grade point averages (GPA) than the students in the comparison group (n = 32). An afterschool program called Brotherhood provides group mentoring and participants saw a GPA increase of 2.43 to 2.83 over a three-year period (Sánchez, B., 2016).
Evidence shows that youth are positively impacted by having same-race teachers. With the low number of Black/African-American and Hispanic/Latino K-12 teachers in the Bowling Green area, the Jonesville Academy recruits teachers from different backgrounds in hopes of increasing the students’ academic performance. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that Black students randomly assigned to at least one Black teacher in grades K-3 are 9 percentage points (13%) more likely to graduate from high school and 6 percentage points (19%) more likely to enroll in college than their same-school, same-race peers. No effect was found for white students (Gershenson, S., et. al., 2021).
Sánchez, B. (2016, August). Mentoring for Black Male Youth: National Mentoring Resource Center Population Review. National Mentoring Resource Center. Retrieved from: http://nationalmentoringresourcecenter.org/images/PDF/BlackMales_Population_Review.pdf.
Gershenson, S., et. al. (2021, February). The Long-Run Impacts of Same-Race Teachers. National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from: https://www.nber.org/papers/w25254.