The Ubuntu Leadership Institute (ULI) is an intensive multi-week educational, leadership, and workforce development program established through a partnership between The Masters Preparatory Academy (MPA) and The Ohio State University’s (OSU) College of Education and Human Ecology, The Todd Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male (at OSU), The City of Columbus, The United Way, and ADAMH. The main objective of the Institute is to offer 75-100 rising African American young men in grades 9-12 from throughout Central Ohio, including Columbus City Schools, with an intensive, in-person/virtual hybrid summer experience. The Program is designed to immerse the students in an environment that will enhance their leadership skills, character development, problem-solving, critical thinking, and equip them to become positive change agents for their communities and families.
Many African American young men have been enculturated into a lifestyle that produces negative life outcomes. They lack skills, motivation, and determination and are unprepared to meet the basic expectations and rigors of today’s workforce. The ULI provides students and their families with the opportunity to focus on student development versus simply their survival, which weighs heavily on the minds of most parents right now, especially due to educational and social transformative opportunities and challenges from COVID-19.
The ULI is poised to address the necessary adaptation and adjustments young African American men must face. Subsequently, there must be new and innovative spaces that address the disparities faced by this vulnerable community of African American students. ULI meets these needs by developing a brotherhood and providing an in-person/hybrid experience that may appear supplemental; however, the implementation of the program, due to the negative outcomes, necessitates its mandatory integration into Ohio’s educational, social, and ecological landscape.