At the Y, we believe that all youth deserve the opportunity to thrive. The YMCA Boys and Young Men of Color (BYMOC) strategy builds on, and invests in, pathways to success to help boys and young men of color reach their full potential.

Why We Focus on Boys and Young Men of Color
Comprehensive research from Harvard economist and Opportunity Insights founder, Dr. Raj Chetty, has found that boys of color in America are:

  • Twice as likely to grow up in poverty
  • More likely to live in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty
  • More likely to fall into poverty as adults, regardless of background

BYMOC focuses on youth during critical transition points in their lives. During adolescence, as boys of color mature and become more independent, their existing support systems in homes, schools and communities can often become distant or inaccessible to them, leaving them vulnerable and disconnected.

BYMOC is an intentional effort to shift attitudes and outcomes for the people, environments, and systems that influence these young men’s lives. The support and advocacy of caring, reliable adults coupled with the implementation of purposeful strategies will inspire and transform participants’ personal identities, equipping them with the tools they need to overcome obstacles. We are working to create a culture of care that demonstrates affirmation and sets an expectation that we believe in boys and young men of color and expect to see great things from them in their future endeavors.

BYMOC participants will engage in social-emotional learning, cultural awareness, sports, community service, college and workforce readiness and much more.


Embedded in 10,000 communities across the country, YMCAs are uniquely positioned to operationalize this approach through frontline practitioners who are able to directly effect change in a culturally responsive manner. BYMOC is operationalized through a cohort of local YMCAs that will grow to include 100 cities and engage 10,000 boys and young men of color by 2024.


Program focus areas include:

  • Education
  • College & Career Readiness
  • Character Development
  • Belonging & Community Building
  • Health & Well-being
A person in a blue shirt shooting a basketball.

Males between the ages of 12-18 interested in learning more click the button below.