RB Alverna

Founder of theAcademy365

Growing up in Maplewood, New Jersey as a young boy from Haiti, I struggled with navigating white spaces. Moving to a new country was a challenge on its own but living in an affluent town where people viewed black people differently, caused me to doubt and question myself daily.

 

I dealt with racism since I started middle school all the way through high school which manifested itself in the ways I was unjustly treated and disciplined. Ill-equipped to deal with it all, my identity was shaken. I didn’t make the best decisions at times and had trouble persisting through college.

 

After realizing how so many young black men contend with the same issues that I did growing up, I founded #theAcademy365 to give them the tools to have healthy social relationships and challenge the dominant negative narrative of what it means to be a black boy in the United States.

 

Black boys are the first to be criminalized, rejected, affected by toxic masculinity reflected in suicide rates, and are constantly reminded of this. At #theAcademy365 we ground our young men in self-awareness and confidence, not fear, to remind them of the greatness ahead of them, not what’s at stake.

 

At #theAcademy365, we provide a safe space and culturally responsive programming that challenges the dominant narrative of black men in America. We give students resources, tools, and the confidence to know that they can create their own.

 

After I completed my bachelor’s and Master of Public Administration degrees, I was a higher education administrator for 10 years. I witnessed black boys struggle to persist through college and predominately white academic institutions fail to adequately serve them at every turn. I left higher education and started my doctorate program in educational leadership that I will complete in 2021.

 

My personal and professional experiences inspired me to examine how black boys who experience trauma persist through college for my dissertation research. I was compelled to create #theAcademy365 as a solution, one that I desperately needed when I was younger.

 

I currently live in East Orange, New Jersey with my beautiful wife, daughter, and son. As a father to a young black boy, I am on a mission to empower young black boys with critical life skills and self-awareness to help them create a purposeful life that excites them each day they wake up.