Positive Connections

Multiracial and White Seattle students are more likely to have a trusted adult to talk to than Black/African American, Asian pacific Islander or Latino students. A focus of the Mayor's Youth Opportunity Initiative is to create positive mentorship experiences by connecting youth with a caring adult and their community.

2017 Summer of Opportunity Priorities

  • Launch mentoring pilot
  • Focus on matching males of African descent with a caring adult as a mentor

Key Programs

Our Best

Announced during Mayor Murray's 2017 State of the City address, Our Best represents the City of Seattle's first ever initiative focusing specifically on improving life outcomes for young Black men. Among the goals of the program: close mentoring gaps by recruiting more Black adult men to service as mentors for young Black men and focus on improving life outcomes for young Black men and boys in the areas of education, economic mobility, health, safety and positive connections to caring adults. Mayor Murray signed legislation authorizing $300,000 to support the launch of Our Best to address the disproportionate impact of institutional racism on Black people, and particularly young Black men and boys. A priority of the program is to double the number of Black men mentoring young Black men and boys through formal mentoring programs.

"Mentoring has been shown to improve emotional well-being, high-school graduation rates, college enrollment, and other positive long-term outcomes," said Mayor Murray. "In Seattle, there are not enough Black men mentors, leaving many mentor programs ill-equipped to support young Black men in culturally responsive ways. And, there is significant interest among local organizations to recruit more. Our goal with this new commitment of the Our Best program is to double the number of black men mentors. Our Best is all of ours. And the fight for young Black men is a fight for Seattle, and our region."

The mentorship pilot program will run for one year starting in July 2017. Additionally, the Our Best initiative involves the creation of an advisory Mayor's Council on Black Male Achievement to include members of local academic, governmental, business, and faith communities. For more information regarding the Our Best Advisory Council and/or supporting the mentorship program, contact Anthony Shoecraft at Anthony.Shoecraft@Seattle.gov or visit murray.seattle.gov/ourbest.