315: Ashanti Branch: Empowering Young Men to Have Real Conversations


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By Nicole Jansen and Business Mentor | Transformation Coach | Change Maker. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Where do young men go to share their deepest fears and find connection and purpose? Ashanti Branch works to change how students, especially young men of color, interact with their education and how their schools interact with them.

Raised in Oakland, by a single mother on welfare, Ashanti left the inner city to study civil engineering. A construction project manager in his first career, his life changed after he tutored struggling students and realized his passion for teaching.

In 2004, during Ashanti’s first year teaching high school math, he started the Ever Forward Club to provide support for African American and Latino males who were not achieving their potential. Since then, Ever Forward has helped all of its more than 150 members graduate from high school, and 93% of them have gone on to attend two- or four-year colleges, military or trade school.

The Ever Forward Club was featured last year in the documentary, The Mask You Live In, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. After completing a fellowship at the Stanford school in 2016, Ashanti stepped away from working for a school district and began working as the Founding Executive Director for Ever Forward - Siempre Adelante in an effort to grow the organization to serve thousands of Bay Area students.

In 2017, Ashanti was awarded a fellowship from the national organization CBMA - Campaign for Black Male Achievement. In 2019, Ashanti received a fellowship from the Gratitude Networks and was a top-three finalist for the LinkedIn Compassion award.

At the Ever Forward Club, they believe that all young men have the desire to be fully alive – to be loved, respected, held in high regard, held to high expectations, held accountable for their actions and supported to help achieve their goals. Their objective is to create the space for this to happen.

What We Discuss With Ashanti Branch in This Episode

  • What inspired him to start the Ever Forward Club?
  • Why are so many young men angry and frustrated?
  • What does the mask represent and why is it necessary to remove it?
  • Where do the masks we all wear come from?
  • What are the biggest challenges you face as a leader?
  • What is the 100K Masks Challenge?

Episode Show Notes and Transcript


Episode Resources

Connect With Ashanti Branch and the Ever Forward Club

337 episodes