Two students inducted as Fellows in My Brother's Keeper


Jaden Eccelston and Aaron Osorio, Uniondale High School students who are going into their senior year, were recently inducted as fellows into the seventh class of My Brother’s Keeper.

The dedication of the two students towards achieving their goals and being a voice for their peers earned them their spots on May 30 as MBK Fellows for the 2024-2025 academic year.

“I just want to make sure I leave an impact,” Eccelston said. “I want to be someone, I want to be remembered, and I feel like MBK has helped me in so many ways because I’m already learning so many things.”

President Barack Obama launched the organization in February 2014 in response to the death of Trayvon Martin, and the Fellow Program began in 2018. The organization aims to address the gaps in opportunity that boys and young men of color often face, ensuring that all young people can reach their full potential, according to the MBK website.

The Fellowship program provides Fellows with public speaking and leadership experiences, as well as the opportunity to participate in service projects to help their communities. They attend conferences, symposiums, and other events throughout the year, where they learn valuable skills for their futures.

Eccelston said that when he was interviewed for the fellow position, he was nicely dressed and shook everyone’s hand, which, he was told, helped him earn his spot. He is confident in the way he carries himself, which led him to become a fellow, he said.

“I’m a good kid, my grades are good, I’m always in class, and I’m always a person who’s able to speak up,” he said.

He is looking forward to participating in new MBK experiences, he said.

Colin Ross, adviser for the Uniondale chapter of MBK, just finished his first year as a mentor, and he thinks Eccelston will be great in his new role.

“When I (asked) the members of MBK to help increase membership, Jaden took that as a personal challenge and brought four to five more students into the program, so he was instrumental in increasing our membership and increasing our impact,” Ross said. “If he believes in something, you can see that he is going to actively participate, which is the sign of a leader.”

As an MBK club member for four months, Osorio said he already has some great experience under his belt. He added that he feels impassioned by his time with MBK and wants to share the opportunities with his community.

“I really just want to spread awareness in my community that MBK is a thing,” he said. “I really want all the young men of Uniondale to really be a part of it.”

Osorio is also a natural fit for the position, according to Ross.

“Aaron is well spoken, a very likable young man, very focused (who) naturally wants to lead,” he said. “He doesn’t take the backseat when asked to do something, and he always has something positive to add to the situation.”

Uniondale became a designated MBK community in 2021, which means it receives funding from the New York State Education Department to run civic-minded programs. The department has allotted more than $3.2 million in grants from 2023-26 to be distributed among MBK community networks, including Uniondale, and the district receives an extra $5,950 per fellow per year.

Some of Uniondale’s MBK programs include a summer backpack giveaway, a father-son breakfast, and a dress for success workshop, which teaches young men how to be presentable, according to Osorio.

Each year, two MBK members from the district are eligible to become Fellows, which is a leadership position in which they participate in MBK conferences and events on a state and national level. The process involves an application, a series of professional interviews, and a letter to the State Education Department, which is signed by the district superintendent and a local government official endorsing the chosen young men.

“Uniondale’s scholars impress me each and every day with their dedication and passion to everything they do,” Monique Darrisaw-Akil, superintendent of Uniondale schools, said in a news release. “Jaden and Aaron contributed their efforts to make our school district a better place. I am so pleased with the work the MBK does and hope to continue our work with them in the future.”

This year, the Fellows Program inducted its seventh class, which consists of 97 young men of color from across the country who will be in their roles for the year until the next induction.

“It’s all about them realizing that they’re valued, they’re acknowledged, and they have the backing and support of myself and others like me in the building,” Ross said.

To learn more about the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, visit