We all wear masks. And for different reasons. But at what point are our masks no longer able to hide what we are really feeling? Who is it that we are really hiding from? Ourselves, or the rest of the world? In this emotional, powerful and compelling interview with Ashanti Branch, founder of the Ever Forward Club, he talks about his journey from a middle school teacher to finding his purpose connecting with inner city youth to help them not only feel heard and seen but to give them the courage to look beneath their masks and even the courage to remove it. He’s committed to the #100kmasks challenge to help people over 100,000 people all over the world remove their masks. Are you ready to look beneath yours?
Ashanti’s bio: Mr. Branch, born and raised by a single mother on welfare in Oakland, California, took the road less traveled to get out of the ghetto and attended one of California’s premier engineering colleges, California Polytechnic – San Luis Obispo. Ashanti studied Civil Engineering and worked as a construction project manager in his first career. After tutoring struggling students and realizing his true passion was teaching, Mr. Branch changed careers. He had suddenly found the “fire” that was missing in his life and he hoped to ignite a similar enthusiasm in his young students.
In 2004 as a first year teacher, Ashanti started The Ever Forward Club to provide a support group for African American and Latino males, who were not achieving to the level of their potential. Since then, The Ever Forward Club has grown to serve both young men and women and become a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The Ever Forward Club has helped 100% of its members to graduate high school and 93% of them have gone on to attend college.
With over 19 years mentoring youth and 10 of those years as a math teacher educating inner city youth, Ashanti was awarded with a Fulbright Exchange Fellowship to India, a Rotary Club Cultural Ambassadorial Fellowship to Mexico and a 2010 Teacher of the Year Award from the Alameda-Contra Costa County Math Educators.
Mr. Branch is on a mission to change the way that students interact with their education and the way schools interact with students.
Learn more about EverForward: https://everforwardclub.org
And watch this video on how people are becoming aware of their masks : https://youtu.be/ETI2cNgAoaw