For thousands of years, in villages all around the world, when the time was right, the men came for the adolescent boys. They knew their young males would play a critical role in the survival of their tribe into the future. For that reason, intentionally launching boys on the path toward a solid and positive manhood was considered sacred men’s work. Times have changed, but the need has not.
Every week Boys to Men mentors show up at middle schools and high schools to support boys. The group based approach gives boys a variety of male role models who tell the truth about struggles all men face. We ask the boys what kind of man they want to be, praise them for their gifts and support them in finding their own solutions. The boys develop deeper trust and naturally begin to support and mentor each other. In this environment, they learn to express and understand how choices and outcomes can impact their life and other’s lives.
Men take the boys on a weekend adventure, where there is fun, and they are shown how to confront the immature parts of themselves.They are surrounded by trained mentors and trained peers as they are encouraged and challenged.This environment helps them learn to trust each other, their peers and adult staff as well as themselves.
These group mentoring events bring mentors and boys together for hikes, kayaking, bowling and other community building events. Dads, grandfathers, brothers and other boys are invited to join in the group. This continues to build the bond where the boy can be himself, speak his truth and be supported without judgment.
There are less high level infractions at school, boys are happier, have a more positive outlook on life, have improved self-esteem, and engage in less risk-taking behavior. BTM participants show improved grades, increased attendance, and higher school engagement.
In September 2013 The University of San Diego completed a 2 year Exploratory Case Study of Boys to Men and the results were astonishing.
Potential mentors are interviewed and carefully screened, and must pass a Boys to Men background check as well as any additional school district background checks required.
All mentors are required to attend an 8-hour mentor orientation, and receive ongoing feedback and training from BTM staff before and after the weekly sessions.
The group-mentoring model allows Boys to Men staff to monitor and evaluate the mentor’s interactions with the boys. All group leaders are trained to spot signs of predatory behavior. We frequently discuss predatory behavior at group sessions and instruct boys and mentors to immediately report ANY concerns or inappropriate behaviors to Boys to Men staff. Every meeting has at least one BTM staff member present.