Boys and Young Men of Color

The YMCA Boys and Young Men of Color (BYMOC) strategy builds on, and invests in, pathways to success to help boys and young men of color reach their full potential.

The YMCA of Rock River Valley is joining a national YMCA movement to invest in boys and young men of color. The YMCA Boys and Young Men of Color (BYMOC) strategy ensures equitable outcomes for boys and young men of color ages 11-17 by removing systemic barriers, providing relevant services and support systems, and creating nurturing environments that promote confidence and growth. 

Programming will focus on education, college and career readiness, character development, belonging and community building, and health and well-being. The first program to launch will be Bro Code, a mentoring program for boys of color offered at the SwedishAmerican Riverfront YMCA and Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. Additionally, the Y is partnering with several RPS 205 schools, so mentors can work with the boys during school.

Interested in becoming a mentor? Click HERE to fill out an interest form and someone from our team will reach out to you.

Watch the video below to learn more about how we are going to activate this strategy locally.


▫️They are twice as likely to grow up in poverty
▫️They are more likely to live in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty
▫️They are more likely to fall into poverty as adults, regardless of background

Click here to learn about the Y's history of investing in boys and young men of color. 

Areas of Focus


Impact their attitudes toward education.
Empower them to believe in their capabilities.
Prepare them with the skills to achieve academic success.

College & Career Readiness

Create pipelines to connect them with post-secondary education and meaningful jobs.
Provide work-based learning experiences, financial education, skills development, career and college planning and resource navigation opportunities.

Character Development

Create experiences and environments that strengthen social-emotional competencies.
Support character development across the Y's core values of honesty, caring, respect and responsibility.

Belonging & Community Building

Help them build healthy relationships with peers and adults.
Foster their positive cultural- and self-identity.
Support opportunities for community connections and civic engagement.

Health & Well-being

Help them develop healthy physical and eating habits.
Teach them about lifestyle changes that can prevent chronic conditions in adulthood such as diabetes and heart disease.
Combat their experiences with food insecurity.

Learn More About Y Programs Focused on this Initiative