Through the lens and model of Mentoring, LF provides 7th-12th graders opportunities for engagement in their own development using critical literacy and critical media frameworks. Collaboration with Family, Schools and Community is central to AA male development and growth, and is used to build strong and positive networks and supports across different settings. LF also provides consultation to these groups around issues impacting the developing AA male student scholars. 

Enrollment of African American males in community based-youth development programs that include physical development, skill building, social and emotional support, positive relations with adults and peers, and study time is important to their development. Mentoring that promotes racial identity can lead to positive outcomes in other parts of their lives. The effective use of out of school time learning for African American males can foster the academic, social, and life skills necessary for these young men to prosper in the 21st century.

The National Assessment of Educational Porgress (U.S Department of Education, 2011) showed that African American males in grade 4 have the second lowest reading comprehension scale score. Critical to academic success of students is the instruction they receive in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Schools need to ensure that African American male students have the academic literacy skills to access rigorous course content, but also they need to be able to see themselves in the text that they are reading.

African American males are underrepresented in higher education opportunities, degree compeltion, and attainment. African American males lag behind African American women in entering college after high school, college enrollment, and obtaining degrees. For African American males, their education experience needs to be top priority, starting with early ages of life and continuing through college or career completion.

Implementing educational change is a challenging process and community partners, parents, and community members play an important role in the way districts operate. Developing a safety net for African American males is important. Students do better in schools when their families are involved. Partnerships should also include connections with mental health agencies, nutrition groups, family service organizations, and recreational outlets.

Critical Literacy and Critical Media Literacy

Critical literacy allows students to examine social, political, and historical contexts and its influence on their everyday lives. Applying these practices with African American males can advance academic achievement by challenging traditional literacy instruction, encourages collaborative learning, and allows students to establish a sense of social justice (Wood and Jocious, 2008).

Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and act using all forms of communication. Critical media literacy focuses on unpacking hidden power messages in media and learning to resist the messages (Alvermann and Hagood 2000; Share 2009).