YOuth Empowerment Services



Mastermind Connect’s Youth Empowerment Services (“YES”) is a program created to offer youth, ages 12 to 18, an opportunity to participate in uniquely designed life skills and pre-college programs, with awareness and empowerment as a core focus. Mastermind Connect (“MC”) is a membership based resource group and thought incubator for today’s progressive men.

Our unique approach is founded on our pillars of Resources, Reciprocity and Respect. Our YES curriculum is not often addressed as part of student’s common in-school learning, and is meant to be relevant, forwarding, engaging and impactful, with topics that cover core social skills, career/creative interests, current events, and mentoring.

Our programs are facilitated by MC members who seek to make a positive impact within their respective communities. This means engaging in structured, in-depth learning from professional men dedicated to their success, both personally and educationally, leaving a lifelong impression on participants, and instilling a deeper understanding about themselves, and the important role they play in their local community and the world.

During these programs, sessions run based on the requested frequency of the organization or school (“Organization”) we partner with, and use an inquiry-based and project-based approach to mentor, prepare and expose youth for life during and after high school.

Participants will have the opportunity to:

  1. Attend lectures, panels, and presentations/workshops

  2. Engage in empowering and forwarding dialogue with adult mentors

  3. Participate in guided peer group discussions, educational and physical activities

  4. Generate individual projects and portfolios, and create collaborative media and arts projects.


OUR Programs

Meet the Masters at Breakfast of Champions (“MTM”)


The purpose of the Meet the Masters at Breakfast of Champions (“MTM”) is to expose the youth population to a variety of career options by curating panel discussions with accomplished professionals. Each theme-based MTM event features 3-4 panelists. MC provides panelists and moderators for each session. Suggested ages: 12-17.

Each theme-based MTM features 3-5 panelists, who are vetted professionals. Themes include the following:

  • Fitness and Wellness

  • Criminal Justice and Law

  • Marketing

  • Health Care

  • Technology

  • Film & Media

  • Finance

  • Social Media Influencers


Mastering Your Craft And Mastermind + Masterbody Workshops

Mastering Your Craft and Mastermind + Masterbody are life skills development workshops coordinated by vetted professionals within various industries. MC provides workshop facilitators and co-facilitators for each session. Each workshop is designed to accommodate between 15-25 participants. Multiple workshops can run concurrently to satisfy larger groups, or subsequently, to accommodate a series of sessions.

Mastering Your Craft

Young men from the NYC Urban Ambassadors program after participating in a Beatmaking workshop with Amjad Khan

Young men from the NYC Urban Ambassadors program after participating in a Beatmaking workshop with Amjad Khan

In today’s information age, there is an importance in sitting with our youth to discuss their interests, desires and potential plans of action for their future. Our Mastering Your Craft program is an opportunity for our members to meet with participants, showing  the way for participants to take ownership of their professional future, and providing them with tools to accomplish it.

Mastering Your Craft is a life skills development workshop coordinated by vetted professionals within various industries. Participants are provided with at least six workshops to choose from, ranging from“ Building the Next Snapchat,” to “Influencing the World Through Arts and Culture.” Groups are composed of 10-20 participants, providing an intimate setting for optimal learning.

Sample list of Mastering Your Craft Workshops:

Start up Camp: Start a Business/Entrepreneurship Workshop

This workshop provides a practical overview of the fundamentals required to start a business. Participants learn from experienced and successful entrepreneurs who share proven practices, sound advice and guidance in identifying key factors that influence start-up success, with an overview of the skills and tools needed when starting a business. Suggested ages: 12-17.

The Boss Program: Financial Literacy

This workshop teaches how to handle money with confidence, offering an overview of the important financial basics: understanding credit scores and reports, grasping the importance of compound interest, how to budget, etc.Suggested ages: 14-17.

Truth 2 Power: Poetry/Writing Workshop

Our writing and poetry workshops are opportunities for young writers to create and explore these fields with authors, spoken word artists, and poets. Young poets are given a chance to delve into the art and craft of poetry in a fun, creative, and inspiring environment. Suggested ages: 14-17.

The Style Salon: Dress for Success

Our personal branding and dress-for-success workshop helps participants make a great first impression, build a professional wardrobe, and dress for their desired career and unique presentation. Leaving with an understanding that dressing well is more than just clothing. It’s about finding your own style.Suggested ages: 14-17.

Class Act: Improv Theater

Participants interested in visual and performing arts gain a clear understanding of how arts and creativity can become a viable career choice, and how the development of their talents can produce non-traditional success. This workshop builds self- confidence, improves public speaking and performance abilities, and develops teamwork skills. Suggested ages: 14-17.

The Breaks!: Deejaying and Music Theory 101

DJ Ness Digital’s four weeks workshop for youth will teach the fundamentals of deejaying and music theory 101. Students will use the latest Serato DJ/Intro and controllers to learn basic DJ theory, mixing, and beginners scratching. Through in-person training, video demonstrations, and experiential learning, students will acquire beat matching techniques, learn how to identify DJ equipment, and understand DJ terminology. Students will also discover tips on creating their own library of music. As a project-based program, each student will have an opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned at the end of the course. Suggested ages: 12-17.

Mastermind + Masterbody

Marlon Briscoe conducts an outdoor bootcamp session

Marlon Briscoe conducts an outdoor bootcamp session

Mastermind + Masterbody is a workshop that focuses on helping young men become aware of the short and long term benefits of being self-aware of their wellness, and take better care of their minds and bodies.

Sample list of Mastermind + Masterbody Workshops:

Mastermind (Mindfulness/Breathing/Meditation)

This experiential mindfulness workshop teaches participants strategies for developing emotional awareness, attentional stability, self-control, empathy, and stress-management. Participants learn how mindfulness supports the social-emotional components of a high quality education, and promotes essential skills for academic achievement. This is a progressive, multi-tiered program. Suggested ages: 12-17.

Masterbody (Physical Wellness)

This workshop promotes proper physical care for optimal health and functioning. Students are educated and encouraged to have a balance of physical activity, nutrition and mental well-being to keep their bodies in top condition, nurturing personal responsibility for their own health. It includes a Bootcamp session. Suggested ages: 12-17.

Can I Kick It?: Self-Defense

Our self-defense training aims to teach participants how to adapt and overcome any physical confrontation. Students will learn situational awareness, defense techniques, and more. Our martial science self-defense training combines the application of tactical information and physical skills with physical movement for a holistic understanding of why self-defense matters. Suggested ages: 12-17.

Camping to Connect


Camping to Connect is an experiential learning and mentorship program that addresses the issue of nature deficiency in urban youth. We use outdoor-based recreation to instill self-reliance, healthy lifestyle choices, leadership, introspection and brotherhood.

For youth living in America’s inner cities, nature is hard to come by. Current research indicates that exposure to nature can have numerous physical, emotional and cognitive benefits for young people, including greater attention capacities, reduced stress levels, and improved self-esteem.

We teach them how to set up camp, prepare meals, and survive outdoors. Breakout sessions with mentors explore goal-setting and promote peer bonding. Fitness and urban farm workshops introduce healthy living habits. Campfire rituals, meditation and journal-writing invite personal reflection. The young men return changed and inspired.

This is an off-site overnight experience for 15-25 young men max. Suggested ages: 12-17.

Youth Opportunities Program Core Personnel:

  • Michael McConnell, Founder of Mastermind Connect

  • Talib Fleming, Director of Youth Opportunities Services

  • Darrell O’Neill, Lead Curriculum Developer

  • Franklyn Mena, Community Affairs & Outreach Liaison

  • Workshop Facilitators & Co-Facilitators are active members of Mastermind Connect with various professional and educational backgrounds.


Since May, 2017, we have engaged in great strategic partnerships, such as with The New York City Department of Education, the Achievement First Charter Schools, and with the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services.

As we open other Mastermind Connect chapters in major US cities, we' seek to roll out our Youth Empowerment Services nationwide. If you'd like to partner with us and use our Youth Empowerment Services at your school or youth organization, please contact us by completing the form below:

Contact Name *
Contact Name