Ashanti 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 attend California Polytechnic - San Luis Obispo, one of California’s premier engineering colleges, to study Civil Engineering. A construction project manager in his first career, Branch changed careers after tutoring struggling students and realizing his true passion was teaching. Suddenly, he found the “fire” that was missing in his life. And he hoped to ignite a similar enthusiasm in his young students.
In 2004, Branch completed Masters in Education from Mills College in Oakland and during that year as a first-year teacher, Branch 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 its inception, The Ever Forward Club has served both young men and young women and become a 501c3 non-profit organization. The Ever Forward Club has helped 100% of its member’s graduate high school and 93% of them have gone on to attend 2 or 4-year college, military, or trade school.
With over 24 years mentoring youth and 14 of those years as a math teacher educating inner city youth, Ashanti was awarded 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.
The Ever Forward Club's work is featured in a documentary, by Jennifer Siebel Newsom and The Representation Project, called "The Mask You Live In" the trailer can be seen here: http://youtu.be/hc45-ptHMxo
Branch was a k-12 Education Fellow at the Stanford d.school, a Building Beloved Community Fellow with The Campaign for Black Male Achievement and currently a Presidential Fellow at Saybrook University.
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Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.