La Mesa, CALIFORNIA — Every mentor has a story to tell. Our mentors
are encouraged to share their deepest joys, fears, and dreams every week in
group, and those stories of lessons learned provide the framework that our
boys use to map out their own futures. Here’s the story of Barry Mahlberg
who is currently a mentor at Greenfield Middle School.

Barry was raised in a strict household as a child. “My father was an army
officer, and I often felt like nothing I did was ever good enough,” Barry
recalls. “The accountability was definitely there but the encouragement and
affection were sometimes lacking. “Through my experience as a kid, raising 2 of
my own and mentoring countless children and young adults in sports and
business, I realized how much I had a heart for kids.”

In 2005, Barry became a court appointed special advocate for a foster child.
Once the child was adopted, Barry wanted to continue mentoring children
but felt that one-on- one mentoring was limiting. “I wanted to impact more
kids with each encounter and to be part of an organization.” Barry
remembers. “ I also wanted to give a perspective to kids, that otherwise have
been given low expectations, that being a successful man was a worthy
pursuit in and of itself.” That is where Boys to Men fit in.

Barry stumbled on Boys to Men in 2014 and soon began mentoring at
Montgomery Middle School. “The concept of adults working together with
kids was new to me, but it was perfect because I have just as much fun
working with the adults as I do kids. To see the passion and integrity of so
many good men is inspiring,” Barry recounts. After his first Adventure
Mountain Weekend, Barry was convinced that Boys to Men was exactly
what he was looking for. Barry explains, “The camaraderie paired with
watching how the kids responded to the retreat was a real eye opener for
me.”

Barry believes that the real power of Boys to Men is that mentors are
encouraged to find a connection of common ground with the boys. “It is so
important to find a way to relate to them. The program is set up to encourage
good choices rather than a “do this, do that” mentality.”

After attending a few more Adventure Mountain Weekends, Barry inquired
about the organization’s expansion plans and was connected with Executive
Director, Craig McClain. His business background and desire to move Boys
to Men forward soon led him to become a member of the board of directors
of which he is still a member of today.

Barry is excited to see Boys to Men grow nationwide. “I believe that
fatherless boys contributes to some of society’s ills. What we are doing here
aims to turn the tide. I’m convinced of that.”