For many historically under-served young men in New York City, access to leadership training and mentorship is not guaranteed. In 2012, NYC Urban Ambassadors (UA) was founded to provide young men with purpose, leadership, and distinction. UA is currently affiliated with over 40 public high schools across the city and is dedicated to cultivating a brotherhood that serves students throughout their journey from high school to college.

Young men in the program take the journey to excellence via five pillars that are designed to promote confidence and achievement as they strive to reach their goals. The pillars are: College Readiness; Leadership; Introspection; Mastery Learning; and Brotherhood (CLIMB). These pillars provide a foundation for goal-setting and academic and personal achievement. 

In partnership with caregivers, schools, community-based organizations, and a range of top universities and academic institutions, each year a cohort of students embarks on a two-and-a-half-year program that encompasses: academic support; culturally-relevant experiences; college enrichment; socio-emotional development; character and leadership building; gender-based bonding; and positive adult role-modeling and mentoring.

UA facilitators design experiences that promote positive interactions and brotherly support so that young men are nurtured in an environment that primes them for success in college and career. These experiences include: regular weekly sessions, leadership opportunities, and SAT Prep.

As they pursue access to selective colleges these young men have made college readiness their priority. UA participants that have completed the program have a 100% high school graduation rate and 100% college enrollment rate. The program will continue to recruit young men from across the city while developing a curriculum that will be available to schools who are interested in launching youth leadership programs for young men of color.


Urban Ambassadors


NYC UA is affiliated with over 40 NYC public high schools. Students who have completed the NYC UA program have a 100% graduation rate from high school and enroll in college. The program has over an 85% retention rate.

Cornell University
Brandeis University
Dickinson College
Drexel University
Fisk University
Hampton University
Harvard University
Iona College
Middlebury College
Morehouse College

Skidmore College
St. John’s University
SUNY Polytechnic Institute
SUNY Albany
SUNY Stony Brook University
Syracuse University
Trinity College
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
University of Notre Dame
University of Pennsylvania