20220210 BHM at Library-3

Kenyon Echols is ambitious.

The 16-year-old Nashvillian wants to go into IT as a career, and maybe even culinary arts. With help from My Brother’s Keeper, he’s getting the chance to learn about those fields and educational opportunities to get his start.

My Brother’s Keeper was started by former President Barack Obama in 2014. The program “focuses on building safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity.”

Echols, who has been a part of My Brother’s Keeper Nashville since its inception in February 2020, said the program has helped him grow immensely.

“It's helped to steer me in the right direction,” he said. “I was kind of aimless. I didn't really know where I wanted to go in my future. But My Brother's Keeper has definitely helped me and steered me in the right direction. I am now more focused on what I want to do. They really helped me with that, and I appreciate it.”

MBK Nashville’s programming places heavy emphasis on volunteering and charity. Echols said that he volunteered in response efforts after the devastating March 2020 tornadoes in Middle Tennessee, helping those who had lost their homes in the disaster.

On top of giving back to the community, Echols says he enjoys the way the program brings people together with the same goal in mind.

“It's a group of young Black men coming together to better themselves,” Echols said. “The program helps Black leaders better themselves. I think the mentorship is also a really big part of it. It's very helpful to get something that you otherwise wouldn't have gotten from normal schooling.”

On top of his activities with MBK, Echols is an avid soccer player and a supporter of Nashville SC. He’s been playing the game since he was three years old and has attended a few NSC matches in the club’s early existence. His favorite player is goalkeeper Joe Willis.

Overall, Echols says MBK is a great resource for anyone in the community that needs support or has the desire to give back to their community.

“I think that if you need guidance at all, I feel like they are definitely the people you would want to go to,” he said. “If you want to get out there and volunteer, they're definitely a great outlet as well. I also think that they provide a great amount of people to be around and being able to form great friendships is also a really great benefit.”

Nashville SC is raising funds for My Brother’s Keeper with a limited edition Black History Month patch. 100% of proceeds benefit My Brother’s Keeper. Click here to get yours.