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 [...]
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 [...]
Each month, Boys to Men is now holding 130 groups in San Diego. This month's Spotlight School is Montgomery Middle School in the Cajon Valley School District. We are currently holding two BTM groups weekly at Montgomery Middle, divided by age and grade (serving 7th and 8th grade boys) with 7 mentors -- 3 staff and 4 volunteers. One student at Montgomery, Jacob, said, “If I have a problem, I can talk about it here,” and another boy, Sam, explained to his BTM mentors, “I can trust you.” From sharing their own life experiences in topics ranging from bullying to drugs and girl problems to gang pressure and drug temptations, our mentors and group facilitators listen without judgment and offer unconditional support to the boys in their circles. Rachel Legrand, Counselor at Montgomery Middle School, explained how our program has helped the fatherless and high-risk boys in her school, “I'm grateful for the opportunities that Boys to Men provides for my students. The group offers them positive role models, a safe and encouraging atmosphere, and caring mentors guiding them into adulthood.” Ms. Legrand continued, “The support that the mentors show my students and our school is overwhelming. Boys to Men is a powerful organization and I hope that each school can experience all that it offers!” As Antonio, a 7th grader at Montgomery Middle School said, “Boys to Men is helping me achieve my goals, and I finally feel good about myself!” For us, that is what it's all about.
In addition to private donations and grants, Boys to Men Mentoring is incredibly grateful for the support of corporate sponsors, and one of the companies that has given generously year after year to BTM is Dr. Bronner's All-One. An international company based in Vista, California (north of San Diego), Dr. B's believes in ethical sourcing and fair trade as well as providing aid to non-profits with missions in line with their own, as Boys to Men has. Dr. Bronner's makes the highest-quality organic, non-GMO and eco-friendly products from soaps and lotions to lip balms and toothpaste. Their company has a vision that parallels that of Boys to Men in regards to helping others, being the change we want to see in the world and making a difference one person at a time. Since 2011, Dr. Bronner's has been an enthusiastic sponsor for our annual fundraiser, The 100 Wave Challenge, serving as both our Title Sponsor and having the biggest corporate team for the event each year. With their always-unique and passionate Dr. Bronner's flair, the family of employees from Dr. B's has become part of the Boys to Men family as well, and we are looking forward to many more years of making a difference with our friends from Dr. Bronner's in our corner!
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. [...]