MHS Alum Trey Baker starts chapter of Obama Foundation’s MBK Rising program at MHS


Photo submitted by Alexandia Rios-Taylor

MHS Alum Trey Baker hosting a MBK rising event on February ninth at the MHS annex. Said Baker, “I’m just really excited [and] super grateful for the community of Mundelein, for our educators, for our administration, at MHS who are really buying into this.”

Hadyn Nuttall, Sports/Entertainment Editor

  The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance is a part of the Obama foundation whose goal is to provide a safe and supportive community for young men of color. This February, MHS alumni Trey Baker returned to pilot MBK Rising at MHS.

  “We work to support, educate, empower and to provide exposure opportunities and access for boys and young men of color specifically in the Chicagoland area to really change the trajectory of their life outcome.” said Baker, author, spoken word artist and the special advisor to the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.

  Data shows that young men of color do not achieve at the same level as their peers and are more likely to drop out of school and become involved in criminal activity. MBK Rising hopes to provide a support system for these young men to change the narrative. 

  Baker said the main goal of the program is, “providing mentors that look like our students, particularly our young men of color to be able to provide that safe space for them. [It] was really important so they can feel welcome, safe and like they have an opportunity to grow and feel recognized and seen.”

  As a school where more than half of the student body are minorities, this program is important. 

  “Being able to interact with other people that look like me and having a safe space is something that most excites me,” said Senior Chris Martin, who participated in the event.

  Moving forward the program will be helping its members build a foundation of leadership skills and connections that will help guide these young men throughout their life. The program plans to visit the Obama Foundation, Chicago Bulls, and other partners of the MBK Alliance to help forge these connections to possible future career opportunities.

  “We are really looking forward to exposing these young men to different career pathways,” said Baker.

  The mentorship provided through MBK Rising will also focus on social and emotional well-being and guidance so members can succeed.

  “When we meet with our young men it’s important that we’re focusing on using mentorship as a way to unlock the different things within their story,” said Baker. We’re really looking to create a safe space where we’re talking about their wellbeing. We’re talking about how they can tell their story authentically, we’re talking about what their future looks like and how we can use education as a vehicle for different opportunities.”

  Those that have participated in this program are excited about the opportunity to learn from this mentorship and have this support system in place.

  “What excites me about it all is that there are people that know there is a gap in opportunities and they’re willing to help us understand more about it and what we can do,” said Junior Alex Torralba.

  The message of the program is that anything is possible.

  “We’re really molding and supporting them to be their best selves and also providing opportunities to show them that there are people in spaces that look like you so you can see that this is possible,” said Baker.

  The students involved are also excited about the opportunity to uplift each other in the process. 

  “I’d love to be a part of something that has the capability to help others, it’s always a nice feeling,” said Torralba.

  “This is a huge opportunity for our young men who have been told so many times that they’re nothing, that they’re not,” said Baker. “This is a program that we really are investing in. It says that they are worth it.”

  Moving forward Baker can’t wait to see the growth of the program at MHS.

  “I’m just excited to get to continue supporting these young men’s journeys and see them flourish and shine,” said Baker.

  Students who are interested in being a part of this program should reach out to Stevee Libert, assistant principal of student life, or Alexandria Rios-Taylor, principal of MHS to participate in upcoming meetings. 

Said Martin, “This is a great opportunity for a lot of students here at Mundelein and I’m glad that they have implemented this group!”