Board Member Spotlight: Barry Mahlberg

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 [...]

By | March 29th, 2018|Mentor|0 Comments

Cancer Survivor Attila Tota Gears Up for 100 Wave Challenge

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 [...]

By | July 27th, 2017|100 Wave Challenge, Mentor|0 Comments

Getting the Good Word Out – Boys to Men Goes to Washington, DC

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 [...]

By | April 19th, 2017|Mentor|0 Comments

BTM is Growing by Leaps and Bounds!

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! - [...]

By | April 19th, 2017|Mentor, School Staff|0 Comments

Lost His Arm, But Not His Spirit

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 [...]

By | May 5th, 2016|100 Wave Challenge, Mentor|0 Comments

Press Release

LOCAL NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION ALREADY FULFILLING OBAMA’S NEW INITIATIVE ‘MY BROTHER’S KEEPER’                              Legendary Surfer Shaun Tomson Joins 100 Wave Challenge to Raise Awareness and Funds for Fatherless Teenage Boys     San Diego, Calif. – In the midst of President Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative –   aimed at helping young men and boys of color facing tough odds reach their full potential – San Diego-based Boys to Men Mentoring Network has been mentoring fatherless teens of all races for nearly 20 years, with high success rates. Launched in 1996, Boys to Men (BTM) is a nonprofit group mentoring program that helps keep young men out of the criminal justice system and 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. BTM targets middle school boys ages 11-to-14, and high school boys ages 15-to-17, who are identified by school administration to be at-risk of educational failure, dropping out of school, juvenile delinquency or gang-related offenses. By partnering with the schools, and working closely with school administrators, BTM is able to identify, and serve the boys most at risk for educational failure. Seventy-three percent of the boys in the program do not have a father active in their life. Program elements include weekly in-school and after-school meetings of mentors and boys, a 48-hour Boy’s Adventure Weekend, a 24-hour experiential mentor training, and ongoing training and support for carefully selected and screened [...]

By | July 14th, 2014|Mentor, Mothers, School Staff, Success Stories|0 Comments