Ascending to Men Project celebrates inaugural year with districtwide summit

The Houston Independent School District’s Ascending to Men Project (ATMP) held its districtwide youth summit to mark the end of its inaugural year on Friday.  

The summit, titled Changing the Narrative of Our Story, was held at Kingdom Builders’ Center to celebrate a successful year of the districtwide program, which connects male students with mentors who provide a wide range of support to keep students on track toward success in college, careers and beyond. 

“The Ascending to Men Program was just a vision 12 months ago,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said to the crowd of students, staff and guest. “We are here today because of your hard work.” 

The purpose of Friday’s summit was to empower and inspire ATMP participants to stay on the pathway to success. Boys in grades 3 through 12 from 47 HISD schools attended the daylong summit, including Wheatley High School senior Kacey Cartwright, who spoke about what ATMP meant to him. 

“Ascending to Men is a brotherhood — it is a learning experience that has guided me down the right path becoming a respectable young man,” Cartwright said. “ATM has been essential to my growth. I didn’t choose ATM, ATM chose me.” 

After the morning’s group gathering, attendees took part in breakout sessions, where topics such as personal growth and development, support for academic success and career planning were covered.  

More than 1,000 students are enrolled in the ATMP. The program is actively seeking mentors as it prepares for the second year of the program.  

A mentor with ATMP acts as a positive role model and advocate for students who need guidance and opportunities for educational, social, and professional growth. ATMP aims to cultivate these areas of growth for students of color in district. For more information, visit