BTM mentor to Take On Waves After Three-Year Hiatus On December 30, 2016, Attila Tota, who had dropped to 115 pounds, had to have his right arm and shoulder amputated in an emergency surgery to save his life. While an aggressive form of skin cancer took his arm, it did not tarnish his passion, dedication and spirit. Despite his ongoing health issues, Tota has continued to mentor dozens of at-risk teenage boys through Boys to Men Mentoring (BTM), inspiring both the boys and his fellow mentors. He also plans, for the first time in more than three years, to grab his surfboard and participate in BTM’s annual fundraiser, the 100 Wave Challenge. The goal of the 100 Wave Challenge, held Saturday, Sept. 23 in Mission Beach, Calif., is for each surfer to raise at least $1,000 and attempt to surf 100 waves in one day. Surfing legend Shaun Tomson and pro surfer Damien Hobgood are among the surfers participating in the event. The surf-a-thon accounts for 68 percent of BTM’s annual budget, which has doubled since the first event eight years ago. The event raised $373,000 in 2016. This year’s fundraising goal is $425,000. BTM plans to sign up 300 surfers this year, compared to 156 surfers in 2016. Launched in 1996, Boys to Men Mentoring is a Southern California-based nonprofit group mentoring program that helps keep young men out of the criminal justice system and improve their access to higher education. It also facilitates a space where boys and men can openly express the truth about the problems they face. BTM has mentored over 6,000 boys and trained mentors in twenty-four states. Tota, 61, is the lead mentor for the North San Diego [...]
Although all of our boys are an important part of our BTM community, there are some that immediately form a bond with his mentors, group facilitators and peers. Angel, who only recently began his journey with BTM, is a special young man who attends Kipp Adelante Middle School. The mention of his name encourages a smile from several of the staff members and volunteers who have had the good fortune of meeting him. While he is new to our program, Angel intends to stick around BTM for the foreseeable future. We recently asked Angel for a few minutes of his time during an in-school tutoring session. He was excited to share what Boys to Men has meant to him and how being a part of our group has changed his life for the better. BTM: How did you first hear about Boys to Men, and what made you decide to check out the group at your school? Angel: I first heard about Boys to Men at my school, and I wanted to see what it was all about. I had some pretty big issues going on in my personal life, and I knew I needed to do something – I had to make a change. BTM: What kind of trouble had you been getting in? Angel: I was really just screwing up in school, bullying other kids, and not listening to adults in my life. BTM: And how did you feel at that time? Angel: I felt like I was stuck in a little room. I was SO angry, and I couldn't get out; so my anger just kept building, and it was always stuck in my head. I couldn't let it go that I [...]
Our country has never needed the unique mentoring model of Boys to Men Mentoring more than it does right now, and Joe traveled to DC with a few others to spread the good news about our program! In February, Boys to Men's co-Founder and Community Development Director, Joe Sigurdson, and two valuable members of BTM USA went to our nation's capital to meet with some big decision makers! Joining Joe on this epic field trip east were BTM USA Secretary Jamie Edmonds and BTM USA Board Chair Michael Bonahan. While they were in Washington, DC for the annual Mentor Conference, Joe, Jamie and Michael were also able to meet with several policy-making politicians and used every spare moment to tell people about Boys to Men. Pictured in photo - Joe Sigurdson (BTM Co-Founder & Community Development Director), Michael Bonahan (BTM-USA Board Chair), Juan Vargas (Congressman, 51st District of California), and Jamie Edmonds (BTM-USA Board Secretary) The week-long annual Mentor Conference featured a variety of inspirational speakers and a series of small group sessions that addressed issues around mentoring such as fundraising, data tracking, mentor recruiting and retaining and even multicultural issues workshops. One entire day was spent on Capitol Hill, where our team met with 5 members of the House and 3 state Senators. Joe, Jamie and Michael proudly initiated incredibly meaningful dialogues that are being followed up on now. In those meetings, it was made very clear from our insight and experience what the needs of fatherless teenage boys are and what solutions are effective in providing for those needs of the boys we serve. Because the problems Boys to Men address are so non-partisan, every one of the politicians who met with BTM was eager [...]
On Saturday, January 28th, Boys to Men Mentoring tried for the second time to break a World Record with our event for the history books – the 1 Wave Challenge! Gathered at La Jolla Shores and divided into teams by different colored rash guards, 136 registered surfers hit the water in an attempt to break the current World Record for most surfers on a single wave at one time. This was an amazing show of teamwork, great communication, and leadership under the watchful eyes of the Event Judge, Eric “Bird” Huffman, of the historic Bird's Surf Shed on Morena Boulevard. We also hosted a companion event to the 1 Wave Challenge called the Torrey Pines Adventure Run, coordinated by our friends at Easy Day Sports. This beautiful 5-mile path led runners across various terrains and through some surprising patches, living up to the title “Adventure Run” in every way! As a reward for their endurance, runners were met with some breathtaking views along the path out and back from La Jolla Shores to the back fence of the iconic Torrey Pines Golf Course. These two events being held in conjunction was a huge goal, especially considering the complex requirements needed to verify a World Record and the number of impartial judges, spotters, proctors, photographers and videographers needed to pull off this event as well! Despite the most valiant efforts of our surfers, we fell short (by only 8 surfers!) of breaking the standing World Record at the 1 Wave Challenge. With another generous Title Sponsorship by the pride of north county, Dr. Bronner’s, the 1 Wave Challenge teed off the closing weekend of the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open Golf Tournament and [...]
In addition to our many other historic firsts in 2016 and 2017, Boys to Men was honored to be chosen as one of just 12 elite non-profits in San Diego to qualify for partnership with The Century Club of San Diego’s Champions for Youth campaign. This unique program offers a generous donation bonus pool from Farmers, from which Boys to Men received almost $26,000 on top of the $73,000 we raised in the 1 Wave Challenge from donations and sponsorships. All told, BTM received $98,131.58 in the Champions for Youth program this year! "The 1 Wave Challenge was powered by the passion of a tribe of big-hearted surfers who are determined to make San Diego a stronger community," said BTM co-Founder Joe Sigurdson. "With this year's awesome addition of The Torrey Pines Adventure Run, surfers and runners came together to raise close to $100,000 for Boys to Men Mentoring Network. We could not be more thankful for the generosity of everyone who participated!"
As a result of our epic event, the 1 Wave Challenge, in January, Boys to Men San Diego has been able to put these much-needed funds to immediate good use! Our program has recently partnered with 4 NEW schools, all of which have been added to our 2017/2018 calendar! Three of the new schools are located in the North County and another in El Cajon. - Sunset High School - (San Dieguito Union High School District) - Rancho Buena Vista High School - (Vista School District) - Ivy Fallbrook High School (Fallbrook District - Continuation School, starting September 2017/2018 school year) - El Cajon High School - (Grossmont Union High School District) As always, there is absolutely no charge to the schools or the students and their families for the opportunity to join Boys to Men – we rely solely on private donations, grants from foundations and fundraising from our events. We pride Boys to Men on being available to EVERY fatherless and high-risk teenage boy who wants and needs our unique group mentoring family and we have BIG goals to continue to expand our positive impact in the coming months and years! With these new schools, we are now partnered with: - 28 San Diego middle and high schools! - 38 group meetings are being held every week in San Diego! - [...]
Boys to Men Mentoring was recently awarded a benevolent grant from The David C. Copley Family Foundation, and we are so incredibly grateful! The Copley Family Foundation provides funding for responsible, creative charitable and civic organizations focusing on community, culture and arts, education, medical and health, and youth development, which continue the Copley family legacy of supporting life enriching organizations and foster community and civic improvement. With the generous grant we received from The David C. Copley Family Foundation, we will be able to expand the Boys to Men program in the coming school year and help more fatherless teenage boys in San Diego make better choices. Thank you for your incredible support, Copley Family Foundation!
What is the surfing equivalent of running a marathon? Surfing one hundred waves in a single day, of course! On Saturday, September 17th, 2016, we will be holding our nationally-recognized fundraiser, the Boys to Men 100 Wave Challenge, for the seventh year at Mission Beach in San Diego! With our biggest participant goal (300+ surfers!) and most ambitious fundraising goal ($500,000!) EVER, this year's event will be a challenge in every sense of the word for all of us! The 100 Wave Challenge event registration will be open Saturday, May 14th at The Boardroom Show in Del Mar and at www.100Wave.org. The simple and free registration will remain open with personal goals for each surfer to raise a minimum of $1000 for Boys to Men and catch 100 waves on the big day of Saturday, September 17th. We will have many impressive 100 Wave Challenge sponsors supporting our big event again this year, including our returning Title Sponsor Dr. Bronner's ALL-ONE, and we appreciate the support so very much! So, get registered, surfers, and let's make this the most epic 100 Wave Challenge yet! See YOU at Early Bird Registration! Saturday & Sunday May 14 & 15 at The BoardRoom Show!
Urgently, Boys to Men and friends are asking your help for Attila Tota, a man who has lived a life of service and has suffered an unimaginable loss. Attila is the lead mentor and founder of our North County Boys to Men group and surfed the 100 Wave Challenge four years in a row with his friends, fellow mentors and boys from Boys to Men Mentoring. After a three-year struggle with cancer and enduring excruciating treatments, Attila, one of our own, had to have his right (dominant) arm amputated in order to save his life in an emergency procedure last Thanksgiving Eve. Two operations later, surgeons have now left the wound open because they can't get acceptable margins. Most recently, surgeons have expressed wanting to take the entire upper quarter of Attila's body -- shoulder, clavical and scapula in hopes of getting ahead of the cancerous tumor spread. Today he struggles with the pain and fatigue of an open stump where his arm once was until doctors agree that the cancer has died enough to skin graft the open wound, which will still take a few months at best. Attila has already endured radiation treatments and does not qualify for chemotherapy. He is, however, qualified for an experimental immunotherapy protocol (that insurance rejected), of which most of the cost will be covered by Merck. The possible side effects are endless, but the promise of a cure is well worth the risk. At this time Attila is unable to work, yet still manages to help run the Boys to Men North County meetings. What Attila and his wife Lisa need at this time is simple but essential: - Help paying for the overwhelming medical costs including huge insurance deductibles - Financial help in order to rebuild their business so that it can fully [...]
This month’s BTM Spotlight School is Monarch School in Barrio Logan, near downtown San Diego. Serving homeless students grades K-12, Monarch is a public school operated under the San Diego County Office of Education’s Juvenile Court and Community Schools educational program. Serving up to 350 homeless students each day, Monarch students live in San Diego shelters, motels, single-room occupancy housing, double- or tripled-up with other families at camp sites, in cars or on the streets. And like other students in the San Diego school system, Monarch’s middle school and high school-aged teenage boys have a NEED for the wisdom, friendship and support of our group facilitators and mentors.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015) We are currently holding two BTM groups weekly on Fridays at Monarch School, divided by age and grade (serving 7th and 8th grade boys) with 4 paid staff facilitators. One 8th grade Monarch boy, Billy, said, “Boys to Men gives me a way to deal with my problems. You guys help me through BIG things and small things in my life.” In addition to being homeless, these boys (for the most part) have no positive male role models in their lives and have to endure daily hardships most American teens could never imagine. Boys to Men’s Program Director Anthony Hutchings said, “While these groups are sometimes much more emotionally “heavy” than other in-school groups, myself and our trained staff consider Monarch some of our most meaningful hours of circles every week.” “BTM helps me control how I act and now I don’t get into trouble as much,” explained Antonio, another student from Monarch who attends weekly groups with Boys to Men. “I get help, I learn from your wisdom and I [...]