by Taki S. Raton
Friends and family will pay tribute to Jerrell Braxton for his nearly three decades of service as social worker for the Milwaukee High School of the Arts (MHSA) and Golda Mier School on Saturday, June 15 at the Milwaukee Brotherhood of Firefighters Hall, 7717 West Good Hope Road. Retiree Larry “Lamp” Lampkins will also be honored for his years of contribution as physical education teacher at MHSA.
Doors for this semi-formal recognition will open at 5:30 p.m. with a scheduled social hour from 6 to 7 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. followed by live entertainment and dancing.
Music will be provided by the Oceans of Soul with a reunion performance of the BOK-Jazz Poets. “BOK” is the Brothers of Kwanzaa organization founded 20 years ago at MHSA.
Braxton earned state recognition when he was named Wisconsin School Social Worker of the Year for 2011- 2012 by the Wisconsin School Social Work Association (WSSWA).
He was honored September 29, 2012 at the Midwest School Social Work Conference in Indianapolis where he represented Wisconsin. Braxton has received numerous awards and accommodations to include Special Recognition by the Milwaukee Board of School Directors for 2011-2012, the Milwaukee Chapter Top Ladies of Distinction Celebrating Fathers & Mentors Award in 2007, the Milwaukee Common Council City Proclamation in 2003, and the Milwaukee Public Schools Excellence in Education Award in 1995.
His signature contribution in the arena of mentoring and to the positive development of young African American males is his Brothers of Kwanzaa (BOK) program at MHSA.
As above mentioned, these 20 years of consistent BOK programming qualifies this initiative as one of the longest running groups of its kind in the United States. The major focus of BOK is to empower African American male participants to succeed academically, educationally and socially with the long range visioning of succeeding in life.
This empowerment/support effort is designed to address issues and lend solutions that are presently fueling the deteriorating status of African American males in Milwaukee and throughout the country.
The group details five social indicators that have become challenging benchmarks to Black teens.
These markers are Education, Health, Employment, Crime, and Life Expectancy.
BOK’s primary emphasis is the development of critical thinking and survival skill training. These tasks are cultivated by promoting students to critique community speakers, review documentaries, participate in group discussions and learn from field trips opportunities.
Hundreds of young men at the Milwaukee High School of the Arts have been serviced over these 20 years says Braxton. He reveals that the program has a 99% graduation rate with 85% of these students continuing to higher education, training programs and city service positions.
MHSA 2012 graduate and BOK member Kyle Williams for example was featured in the June 16, 2012 Milwaukee Courier “Young, Gifted & Black” series.
Graduating with a cumulative 4.0 G.P.A. and in the then anticipation for his first year of college at Fist University, Klye received scholarships from the Alpha Beta Boule,
The Rising Star and Kelben Foundation, the W.E.B. DuBois Club and from Fisk University. His cited plans are to major in Political Science with the intent of entering law school and becoming a lawyer.
“Mr. Braxton has a deep appreciation for our students and has committed himself to bringing out the best in each young man he works with,” says Dena Radtke, Coordinator of School Social Work and School to Work Transition and Community Services for MPS.
For his work with BOK, he has received Special Recognition by the Milwaukee Board of School Directors for 2011-2012, the Brothers of Kwanzaa Leadership Award in 2007, the Brothers of Kwanzaa 15 Year Special Recognition Award in 2006 and was featured in the Milwaukee Magazine writing “First Person-Brothers Keeper” in 2007, and appeared as a guest feature on “Positively Milwaukee” in 1997.
This recognition of Braxton and Lampkins acknowledges prideful models of exemplar MPS and in particular MHSA professional leadership in the commitment towards the growth and development of Milwaukee’s youth.
For additional information of this celebrative tribute dinner, please call Oshi Adelabu at (414) 324-5796.