Mentoring is a MUST


Black people are 6.5 times more likely than whites to be incarcerated for drug-related crimes


Black people account for 45% of those serving time in state prisons for drug-related offenses


Each high school dropout costs society more than $600,000 in their lifetime

The Start of MUST

MUST’s founder, Rick Newell, spent seven years working at an inner-city Boys & Girls Club. In the course of those years spent working with kids in difficult circumstances, Newell came to strongly believe the big underlying problem in the urban core is the lack of positive male role models. Father Absence Statistics show a lack of positive male role models makes youth more prone to poverty, substance abuse, physical and emotional abuse, crime, sexual activity, and low educational achievement.

Newell also met and worked with many Club staff and volunteers and identified several as responsible men in their early to mid-20s who grew up in high-risk environments but never pursued higher education. Newell observed that it takes a few years for some young men to realize the benefits of college. After working low-paying jobs they become motivated to work hard at their education.

Newell believed in an idea to address the two problems: train and pay the responsible men in their early to mid-20s to mentor the high-risk youth while they pursue their own higher education. The Mentor begins college for four years. The youth enters high school for four years. For four years, a relationship is built and the younger one watches the older one and begins to think, “He comes from the same place I do. If he can do it… so can I.”

Why Mentorship is the Solution

A Gates Foundation study, "The Role of Risk", reported that quality mentoring reduces depression, increases acceptance by peers, and improves grades. Long-term mentoring helps with school attendance, reduces substance abuse, and reduces deviant behavior in school.**

There are also financial benefits to mentorship. Another study, "The Economic Value of Opportunity Youth", shows that there are more than 6 million high school dropouts and underemployed youth (age 16-24) in America and each one costs society more than $600,000 over the course of their lifetime. And they pass the same patterns on to their children, continuing the cycle.

3:1 Return on Investment for Mentoring
Youth Intervention Social Return Full Report

The Statistics Show the Problem

MUST hires positive Black male college students as mentors for vulnerable Black male high school students.


Black HS Graduation rate (5 yrs) in Seattle public schools


Almost 44% of prisoners are arrested again within just one year (


1 in 5 prisoners in the world are in the United States

Mentorship's Financial Benefits to Society

The numbers in the chart below are averaged from three different studies measuring the net lifetime benefit to society as youth climb the education ladder. Moving a youth up just one level on the education scale benefits society hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Students who drop out of high school will get jobs, but their reduced earning power means the taxes they pay over their lifetime and their overall contribution to society barely breaks even. Many dropouts will lean heavily on the justice system, welfare system, and healthcare system.

All three studies show that some college course work will improve a person’s career earning power and quality of life. The youth may not finish college, but even a little college experience is a great benefit, and the opportunities that may follow make a significant positive impact.

Estimated Cost of one high school dropout:


Obviously, MUST’s goal is to get every Mentor to graduate college and as many youth finish college as possible. However, if youth make it to college but do not finish it is still a major win on many fronts.

The Economic Value of Opportunity Youth

MUST Results

After 8 years of serving the most vulnerable Black male youth in Seattle, MUST has produced outstanding results.

The estimated Social Return on Investment (ROI) is 7.71.


College Attendance


Estimated Net Lifetime Value


Black HS Graduation Rate (5yrs) MUST (Seattle 73%)

Incarceration Rates

The War on Drugs

In the 1980s the ‘War on Drugs’ was renewed. The result was not rehabilitation but incarceration. The BIG business of prisons was born.

The prison system does not rehabilitate, it feeds itself. Almost 44% of prisoners are arrested again within just one year ( Additionally, their kids and their kid’s kids are more likely to go to prison. It is a broken system that needs replacing.

Incarceration Rates by Country

So how does the incarceration rate in the US compare to the rest of the world?

The United States now incarcerates 655 people per every 100,000 individuals. As the graph shows, this incarceration rate dwarfs other developed countries and is literally ‘off the chart’. America’s total prison population is more than 7 times the total combined prison population of all the other countries on the list. 1 in 5 prisoners in the world are in the U.S. Each prisoner cost the nation $36,299.25 per year ($99.45 per day) in FY 2017.

Again, incarceration is self-feeding. 83% of prisoners are arrested again after 9 years ( Let’s starve that beast. Imagine if we could point those resources to prevention and true rehabilitation. It would change the face of our nation. Those resources could be used for counseling, job training, housing, etc.

You and MUST are helping reverse the U.S. incarceration rate by helping MUST starve the beast. MUST serves the most vulnerable youth. They are the most vulnerable for dropping out of high school but also for being incarcerated. Only 7% of MUST youth are convicted of new crimes.

Are African Americans Singled Out?

This graphic shows that whites are incarcerated at a rate of 218 per 100,000. Blacks, however, are incarcerated at a rate of 1,134 per 100,000. That is actually down from 2,261 per 100,000 in 2006. African Americans make up 13% of the overall population, but 34% of the prison population.

In her excellent book, The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander points out that the U.S. incarceration rate of Black males (1,134 per 100,000) is a higher incarceration rate than South Africa had at the height of apartheid (851 per 100,000). Prison is a wrecking ball in a family for generations. Incarcerated African American males means youth are robbed of their fathers and the cycle continues.

Fatherless children are more prone to obesity, juvenile justice involvement, gang involvement, mental health issues, poor school performance, poverty, homelessness, and substance abuse (2017 US Census Bureau). It also means fathers are removed from the voting process in our country. The very people who are most oppressed have the smallest voice toward change.

Police Statistics

Hours of Job Training Required

Police officers in America, and citizens, would all be better served by further job training for officers. This chart shows the average number of training hours for different occupations. Police officers receive far less training than barbers, cosmetologists, and other skilled trade professionals.

These facts are not meant to speak poorly about these other industries but rather highlight the inadequacies of the training our police receive. Police carry multiple weapons, have to deal with issues like mental illness and domestic violence. Twenty-one weeks of training is not nearly enough.

Size of Police Force

The size of America’s police departments is average when compared to other developed countries. Our training is the issue.

Months of Training Required

This chart shows the average number of months of training for officers in founding NATO countries. Seattle Police are paid $85K – $110K per year. That type of salary and the complexity of the job should require at least a two year degree. Police officers, and those they serve, will benefit greatly.