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.”

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 is a leader in his Academy class. Louis will be graduating in June and has an offer for a full-ride scholarship to college. He is is looking forward to college and wants to work with robotics or counseling kids, in essence paying forward what Boys to Men has given him in the last few years.

Louis explained, “Every boy should give this program a shot and stick with it it. Boys to Men makes me more compassionate and more aware of the world around me. I have a better understanding of life and a new perspective now. See, now I realize I am not alone. Before Boys to Men, the truth is that I had nowhere else to go and no one else to turn to – Boys to Men IS my family.”