Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Rise: The Promise of My Brother's Keeper

Rise: The Promise of My Brother's Keeper

Spring 2016 Television
Ages: 8 & Up
Rating: TV PG

There's an African proverb that says "If you want to change the dance, you have to change the music." In this country, our educational system is faltering, and this Discovery Channel special reminds us why we need to change the music.

Rise: The Promise of My Brother's Keeper is a powerful and emotional reminder that every child has potential and deserves the opportunity to reach it. Every child has talent, but too many in our country fall through the cracks of the educational system because they have extenuating hardships that effect their performance at school. Worse, many simply fit the stereotype of the difficult student. The special explores four academic programs adhering to the principles of the My Brother's Keeper initiative, launched by the White House in 2014 as a resource for at risk boys of color.

Featured are students who live in a world with very little margin for error, as well as interviews with President Obama and how closely he feels to this issue. Designed to give young men opportunities, My Brother's Keeper, has been implemented in communities around the country. Along with character contracts and a rigorous academic plan, what is particularly moving is how much of an impact a simple kindness can make. Setting positive examples, being positive, greeting these kids each day with a smile is crucial. Creating a nurturing environment and a safe haven is key. Many of these kids are facing unprecedented violence, or poverty, hunger, unemployment-seemingly unsurmountable odds, but those in the program are showing tremendous success. These kids are scared and vulnerable. They are willing to work hard for success, but need to be given a chance and encouragement to succeed.

Watching these young men realize their own power and potential is indeed sweet music and our educational system is a dance to which every child must be invited.

Laura Fries   ©2016 Parents' Choice
A freelance writer and 20 year member of the Television Critics Association Laura has been writing about television and film entertainment for more years than she cares to admit. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alexandria, Virginia.

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