school staff testimonials
Toma migrated to the U.S. when he was just seven years old fleeingwar in Baghdad, Iraq with his father, mother, brother and 13 other family members. Toma saw his life in the United States as a new opportunity, but fitting in at school was a challenge, and he was often bullied for his size. A good friend of his introduced him to Boys to Men when he was 15-year-old. Toma recalls, “I was at a very vulnerable age where I was depressed and hurt." "When a good life friend told me about Boys to Men I thought it was just another group, but Boys to Men has given me an opportunity to plan out my life,” Toma added. Now 17, Toma attends El Cajon Valley High School where he has mastered English and studies welding manufacturing. In reference to his future, Toma explains, “I now have a plan to make my dreams of building my own company come true.” Toma says his favorite thing about Boys to Men is “the fact that I can be me and that I can talk to people when I need someone there.” Toma recently got to participate at an Adventure Mountain Weekend retreat as a Journeyman lead. Toma defines a Journeyman as a boy that is on the road to becoming a man. When asked what the best part about his leadership role was, he said, “My favorite part was that I got to learn and cook with people that love and care for me.” Jose Garcia, BTM Youth Coordinator, says Toma has quickly become a leader amongst the older boys. He explained, "Toma expressed his desire to take a leadership position during one of our camping trips and did a great [...]
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! - [...]
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 [...]
Sometimes, we at Boys to Men Mentoring get a wild hair and decide to take on challenges that seem impossible. Our only annual fundraiser, for example, The 100 Wave Challenge, is basically a surfing marathon. On Saturday, January 23rd, 2016, about 150 San Diego surfers rode 18 waves in unison for nearly two hours in an attempt to override the current World Record for most surfers on one wave (which was 110, set in Cape Town, South Africa). Our esteemed judge was Eric “Bird” Huffman, owner of the legendary Bird's Surf Shed, and with his crew of counters, pointers, spotters, videographers and photographers, this was a day for the history books, despite missing the World Record by a few surfers. This first-of-its-kind event was hosted by The Century Club with all proceeds going to Boys to Men Mentoring and had the honor of many reputable vendors volunteering their time and donating their products for our surfers and volunteers. Sponsors included Los Primos, Souplantation, Coca Cola, Dr. Bronner's, Pacific Records, Swell Coffee Company, 91x, Chick-Fil-A, Troutman-Sanders, and we appreciate the support so very much! Our best party wave of the One Wave Challenge had 97 surfers standing up for five seconds or longer. Despite Mother Nature's refusal to play nicely, we had an unbelievable group of experienced surfers in the lineup! Because we narrowly missed breaking the World Record, we will be back out there next year – and this time we WILL break the record! Get a feel for the day of the event. (One Wave Challenge video by TJ Sinsay) Also, check out this incredible drone footage! (Video by RedWeb Studios) Big thanks to The Century Club of San Diego and all of our [...]
Often, a teenage boy finds Boys to Men Mentoring when he needs us most. This was the case in the life of Journeyman Ryan, who came to his first BTM group at the age of 13 and is almost 17-years old now. Ryan's father passed away when he was just three-years old and, despite having a strong bond with his older sister and mother, Ryan was lacking a positive male role model in his life. Our Program Director, Anthony Hutchings, remembers the first time Ryan walked into a group and how clearly Ryan needed the support and encouragement of good men in his young life. Anthony suggested Ryan join the Adventure Mountain Weekend that was just one week away, and after nearly three and a half hours of being interviewed and interrogated by Ryan's skeptical mom, Genevieve, to ensure her son's safety under Boys to Men's watch, Anthony received the green light to take Ryan for his rite of passage into becoming a man with about forty other boys, mentors and group facilitators. Ryan recalls that weekend well and explained, “That was when I realized my Boys to Men family will be there for me, no matter what.” As a junior at Steele Canyon High School in Spring Valley, Ryan still attends every Tuesday night community meeting and participates in activities BTM offers outside of groups, like a recent deep-sea fishing trip and evening surf sessions in the summertime. Ryan's mother and sister have also become part of the Boys to Men family, and the BTM Program Director, Anthony, has taken it upon himself to check in with them frequently to ensure we continue to fill the gap of the missing male entity in Ryan's life. [...]
VISTA, Calif., Sept. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dr. Bronner's, family-owned maker of the top-selling natural brand of soap in North America, is proud to support the 100 Wave Challenge on Sept. 19 to raise funds and awareness for the important work of the Boys to Men Mentoring Network, a San Diego-based nonprofit that engages men to improve the lives of boys at risk. On Saturday, Sept. 19, hundreds of surfers will hit the water at Mission Beach to support Boys to Men (BTM) and help boys become good men. Pro-surfers such as Shaun Tomson and Damien Hobgood are also supporting the event. The goal is for each surfer to raise $1,000 for BTM and attempt to catch 100 waves in 12 hours. So far Dr. Bronner's, which will have a team for this year's surf-a-thon, has raised over $25,000 for this great cause. "Dr. Bronner's is proud to support this amazing community initiative," says David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner's. "Not only is surfing for a good cause a ton of fun, but because of the success of the 100 Wave Challenge, Boys to Men has tripled in size in the last two years and 600 at-risk boys around San Diego now have good, positive role models in their lives," continued Bronner. Launched in 1996, BTM helps to keep young men out of the criminal justice system and to improve their access to higher education. It also provides boys a place where they can hear other boys and men tell the truth about the problems they face and a community where boys know they are not alone. BTM has mentored over 6,000 boys and has trained mentors in 24 states. "These boys come in to Boys to Men with a lot of [...]
January was Mentor Appreciation Month and at Boys to Men Mentoring we took this opportunity to thank the backbone of our organization for their work. Between volunteer group mentors and staff facilitators, we have more than sixty men who give their time, offer their wisdom and provide stability and accountability in the lives of boys who otherwise may not benefit from any of those qualities from men in their lives. As a small token of thanks, we asked some of the fatherless and at-risk teenage boys in the Boys to Men program to write a short note to a mentor explaining the impact the mentors have had on their lives. The cards we collected were absolutely priceless – from heartfelt expressions of gratitude for the life-changing guidance to simple notes saying they appreciate the support of our mentors. In honor of Mentor Appreciation Month, each of our mentors was mailed one of these hand-written notes from a boy in our program and a personal letter of appreciation from our Mentor Coordinator, John Fojtik. We at Boys to Men would be nothing without the mentors who so selflessly give of themselves to keep this program running. Thank you, dear friends, from the bottom of our hearts! Together, we are changing lives!
“I am now able to speak my truth.” Each month, Boys to Men is now holding 116 groups in San Diego. This month's Spotlight School is Harriet Tubman Village Charter School in La Mesa, which is a part of the San Diego Charter School Consortium. Boys to Men is now in partnership with 6 schools in this consortium and growing with as many as 8 more schools on the waiting list. Dr. Valerie Bailey, the school counselor for Harriet Tubman said, “Our students involved in Boys to Men have made monumental strides since Boys to Men has been at Tubman. I have witnessed significant interpersonal and intrapersonal growth in our boys that are in group. From an outside perspective, it shows that these young men are learning to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. I look forward to continuing the strong, positive relationship that our school has with the Boys to Men mentor program.” Harriett Tubman became part of the Boys to Men family during the 2013-14 school year, and since that time, we have served more than 40 boys, with 14 of these young men also attending the Adventure Mountain Weekend at Sonrise Ranch on Palomar Mountain. Jessie, a young man from Harriet Tubman who went on our last Adventure Weekend said, “Boys to Men has given me the courage to be who I want to be, and not what people expect me to be.” Another boy from this school, Bronson, explained how our group mentoring has changed his life by saying, “Boys to Men gave me the words I needed to speak and be heard by those around me. I am now able to speak my truth.” Our collective goal as an [...]
With so many young men going through our program each year, Boys to Men has an abundance of success stories to share. One teenage boy we are especially proud of is 17-year old Louis Castrejon, who has been involved in Boys to Men Mentoring for more than three years now. Louis was introduced to Boys to Men at a continuation program in an after-school group at Gateway Middle School. In his own words, Louis said, “Without Boys to Men I would definitely be in juvenile hall or jail by now. I was very angry, doing drugs and released my anger on other kids who didn’t deserve it. And then I started going to Boys to Men meetings and they helped me in so many ways. I never had anywhere I could speak and Boys to Men let me be heard.”Watch All Girls Weekend (2016) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download Louis joined our program as an initiate and has worked his way up to being a Journeyman. Involvement in the rite of passage of the Adventure Weekends at Palomar Mountain has been a source of great pride for Louis, as he has attended ten of these life-changing retreats and now participates as a leader and a valuable part of making these weekends successful. From a quiet boy with an uncertain future to a confident young man with a bright road ahead, Louis is a perfect example of how Boys to Men can help guide fatherless and at-risk teenage boys to making better choices and transforming their own lives. This new role of leadership has carried over for Louis in his high school education as well, as he is now earning a high GPA and [...]