Tracy Morris founded The Blue Heart Foundation in 2013 alongside his wife, April Ray, to provide youth ages 13-19 opportunities for mentoring and personal and professional development and encourage them to understand that they are greater than their current circumstances. Morris, who grew up in Southeast San Diego, started the foundation with the intention of giving young men in his community life skills to succeed in the future.
“I grew up in Southeast San Diego without a strong father figure, and people say there is a need for male role models,” said Tracy Morris, Founder and Executive Director of Blue Heart Foundation. “I kind of looked at what I needed as a young person, or as a teenager growing up, to help me focus on my goals. I think most importantly, I just wanted someone or somewhere that I could consistently go to, that I knew would be there."
In what has been a challenging time for many, the organization has pivoted from being in-person to hosting virtual workshops which have expanded its reach and engagement. In 2021, they built up a capacity to empower and educate more than 45 young men.
Ke’Aun Dent always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur and study
business in college, but it was his involvement with The Blue Heart
Foundation, where he is the Student President, that has given him the
tools to make it happen.
“I just want to do business and I want to ultimately get in a position of power where I can create jobs and job opportunities for people who look like me,” said Dent, San Diego High School Senior, Class of 2021.
Dent is working towards his pilot’s license, while also exploring acting and pursuing a small business called Ke’s Kitchen, where he sells homemade cakes made from his family’s recipes. Dent is finishing up his senior year at San Diego High School, online, and in the fall, he is headed to Morehouse College to pursue a degree in international business. From his budding cakes business to his college prospects, he knows his preparedness is in no small part thanks to The Blue Heart Foundation.
The Mindful Heart Program
In 2021, Blue Heart launched a new program focused on mental and
emotional health, called The Mindful Heart. The program addresses
issues that are normally taboo in the Black community, including
anxiety, depression, and emotional stability. The goal is to equip
youth with the tools to implement a mindfulness practice that supports
their emotional development and growth by surrounding them with a
village built on the pillars of love, empathy, and grace.
“I learned mindfulness was a purposeful act and I will use some of the breathing techniques I learned in the workshop,” said Josiah Johnson, a program participant. “I’m excited to start meditating…30 mins a day. Just me and my thoughts.”
The 45 boys in the program also participate in mindfulness cooking classes and connect with an assigned mentor who checks in on each young man’s well-being.
Year-over-year since its inception, The Blue Heart Foundation has supported and upheld the very principles of the Live Well San Diego vision. Through its many mentors, speakers, workshops, and programs, Blue Heart has been focused on improving the quality of life for their young men and their families, with 100% acceptance to 4-year universities since 2014.
Learn more about the Blue Heart Foundation and how you can help.