Youth Guidance – BAM

Launched 2017


Prioritizing mental health and socio-emotional learning while building community for young men of color.

Becoming A Man (BAM) is a two-year, school-based program that supports young men of color through weekly group sessions with their peers and the guidance of a trauma-informed BAM counselor. These trained, culturally competent counselors help young men to resist negative influences and develop social-cognitive skills, like self-awareness, emotional regulation, and responsible decision making. With this support and skills, the program deters criminal involvement and increases school engagement.

Boys and young men of color face disproportionate challenges in reaching their full potential as compared to their white peers. GreenLight Boston supported BAM’s expansion to Boston for its proven ability to improve life outcomes, particularly for young men of color. Randomized control trials have shown that BAM reduces total arrests by 35%, violent crime arrests by 50%, and increases on-time graduation by 19%.

Operating under the umbrella of Youth Guidance, BAM and its team of counselors work alongside the local school staff to ensure successful program implementation. BAM’s impact is felt deeply within the Greater Boston school districts, where they provide a positive outlet for young men where they can overcome hurdles, remain focused on education, and ultimately achieve success.

BAM’s Expansion to Boston: Supporting young men of color through counseling and community

BAM’s Impact in Boston

In 2022 – 2023


students reached


of BAM scholars reporting gains in social-emotional and resiliency measures, like empathy, critical thinking, perseverance, and emotion control


HSA subscales showing statistically significant increases

In Boston

of Becoming a Man (BAM) youth demonstrated growth across all social–emotional learning measures, with the support of BAM’s core values

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In Boston

of BAM Scholars advanced to the next grade, overcoming challenges and embracing the future. Devon shares his experience.

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The BAM circle lies at the heart of the program.

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