On February 24, 2022, The D.A.D. Initiative (Directing Adolescent Development) hosted the 2022 Black Futures program. The program took place at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati’s Historic West End, with over 200 teen students in attendance. The D.A.D. partnered with ABC, the FC Cincinnati Foundation, Buildwell Development Group, and other local organizations to support the full day event.
“Black Futures” was designed to honor black history while also focusing forward by providing career exposure for black teenagers in the Greater Cincinnati area. The program offered a new and engaging way for black high school students to learn about potential career options directly from successful black professionals who have exceled in various fields.
“All too often black adolescents are simply unaware of the career possibilities in front of them,” says Tyran Stallings, Executive Director at The D.A.D. Initiative. “But in a single day during Black History Month, we provided a forum for local students to learn from role models who look like them, about the infinite and very real career possibilities available to them.”
The 200 students in 11th and 12th grades met with 35 black professionals spanning a wide array of career fields. Not only did the students gain career insight, but also learned about the journey that these professionals experienced. The intention was for students to see the similarities between themselves and the speakers, learn about careers they might not have known about, and thus find motivation for their own future success.
ABC was honored to partner with the D.A.D. Initiative to sponsor and support the Black Futures Event at TQL Stadium. In addition to ABC, the D.A.D. Initiative partnered with several key sponsors to host Black Futures, including:
• FC Cincinnati Foundation
• Buildwell Development Group representing a wide range of careers have volunteered to engage Black students in candid conversations about their respective paths to success.
“All too often Black adolescents are simply unaware of the career possibilities in front of them,” says Tyran Stallings, Executive Director at The D.A.D. Initiative. “But in a single day during Black History Month, we provided a forum for local students to learn from role models who look like them, about the infinite and very real career possibilities available to them.”
The Directing Adolescent Development (D.A.D.) Initiative is a nonprofit founded in 2013 when founder, Tyran Stallings, noticed the need to grow black male participation in the educational process, where only 2% of teachers are black men. The ethos behind the initiative is that “the foundation for massive change starts with incremental ones”.
The D.A.D. Initiative now serves thousands as it engages students, families, and the community in programs spanning from technological education to workforce development. The initiative provides mentorship, education workshops, 21st century skills development courses, summer enrichment programs, community health events, and workforce development trainings.