September 22, 2013

The Ever Forward Club - The Power of One Man

I met Ashanti Branch in July of 2013 when we were both “outlander” staff men at the YMAW, or Young Men’s Adventure Weekend, held near Vancouver, British Columbia. Ashanti is currently a Vice Principal at the Montera Middle School in Oakland, CA. He was using his summer being Ashanti, and accumulating rich experiences, ideas, and new skills to take back to Oakland to increase his impact on his community.

Ten years ago Ashanti founded The Ever Forward Club (EFC), a not-for-profit organization in Oakland, CA. The program was started to support young men of color in high school who were failing 50 percent or more of their classes.

In the last ten years, Ashanti has put together a solid, school-based program that's had an amazing impact on countless numbers of kids, a couple of inner-city schools, and their surrounding communities. Over the years of tracking the progress of their EFC participants, they have recorded some incredible statistics. In the past eight years:
  • 100% of the EFC members have graduated high school.
  • 90% of the EFC graduates attend 2 or 4 year colleges after high school.
  • 1000+ students, faculty, family and friends have participated in their Annual 24 Hour Relay Challenge which promotes community building and healthy living.

If you work in this field, you know the power in those numbers and the many small victories it's taken to achieve that degree of success. It’s easy to see why Ashanti Branch is on my list of heroes and a brother in mission. His current goal is to bring the EFC to 20 middle schools and 20 high schools by the fall of 2015, potentially supporting as many as 1,000 individual students! I have no doubt Ashanti will reach that goal!

I recently spoke with Ashanti to learn more about what he's learned in his 10 years with The Ever Forward Club. In the recording below, you can hear how the EFC got started, how it’s grown, and about the four core principles of Academic Development, Personal Development, Community Development, and Family Development, that have made it so successful.

You’ll also hear how Ashanti’s 'young male' literacy has evolved over time. I just love the part where he tells us what keeps him in this challenging work. If you like hearing about real man-making, this short clip will be very much worth your time.

Click the arrow to start play (may take a second to load)

If the player isn't visible, click on this direct link.

If you took the time to listen, you’ll see why I so respect and honor Ashanti for his powerful dedication to the young males in his world. Makes me wish I had an Ashanti in my life growing through my teen years. What I love about his story is that it’s another tale of how much difference one very motivated man can make. In ten years, Ashanti Branch has touched thousands of lives, and the positive reverberations of that impact just can’t be measured. AND, he’s just getting started!

You can learn more about The Ever Forward Club on his website,, or you can email Ashanti directly.

If you’re inclined to make a donation in support of one very reliable man-maker, working in extremely challenging circumstances, and getting extraordinary results, I know Ashanti will put the funds to good use. You can donate at the FirstGiving donation site, or make a check out to Warrior Films c/o Ever Forward Club, and send it to The Ever Forward Club, Ashanti Branch, 7514 Holly St. Oakland, CA 94621.

CONTACT: Send Earl a message. I'm very interested in your thoughts on any man-making post or topic. I'm available to help bring man-making initiatives to your community or organization.

SUBSCRIBE: If you're not yet a subscriber to the Man-Making Blog, and you'd like to receive these posts by email 3-4 times a month, use this link for a free subscription.

LIKE: If you enjoy this blog, please click the "Like" button below to support the Man-Making Facebook page!

TWEET: Send this post along to your friends or follow me on Twitter!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your response to this blog post is appreciated and welcome.