National Mentoring Month Targets Boy Crisis

We have a national boy crisis. In an astonishing disclosure about the two greatest dangers to the future of America’s economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell revealed in an interview on 60 Minutes the peril posed by young men in our country. First, they are not actively seeking employment and second, they are falling prey to drug addiction. Powell suggested that our society is overlooking the challenges boys face in education, as well as in their mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Boys are receiving diagnoses of ADHD at a rate twice as high as that of girls. They are underperforming in school—accounting for 70 percent of all failing grades. The suicide rate among boys is four times higher than that among girls, and boys are five times more prone to incarceration. Fatherless and under-fathered boys compound these variables and are at much higher risk. With a 50 percent divorce rate and a national average of 34 percent of boys being raised in a household with no male figures, many boys are left to figure out their path to manhood alone. 

So, how do we address this failure epidemic? Right here in San Diego is a nonprofit many consider to be one of the nation’s top teen mentoring organizations—Boys to Men Mentoring (B2M). Since 1996, the local agency has shaped the lives of thousands of young boys into resilient, confident, and empowered young men through mentorship. 

The mission of B2M is to “Empower Boys to Follow Their Dreams.” This is accomplished through partnerships with 40 schools in 10 school districts countywide offering in-school group mentoring. Teams of B2M volunteer mentors visit the schools weekly to sit in circles with struggling boys to touch on the beliefs, traumas, issues, and events that are sabotaging the boys from being successful. The process of empowering boys to tell the truth, make meaningful choices from an honest place, and receive support and accountability from a team of caring mentors has proven to be an effective solution to the Boy Crisis.

As the boys progress, they are invited to attend an Adventure Mountain Weekend to take a deeper look into topics they have touched on in group sessions. It is here they create a roadmap to becoming the good men they want to be. The weekend is a life-changing experience the boys never forget.

When the boys return to their weekly school circles, they can integrate the commitments made on the mountain into their lives back home. The comprehensive, long-term commitments to change dramatically alter the outcome in many aspects of the boys’ lives: academics, mental health, physical health, and spiritual health. 

During National Mentoring Month, B2M celebrates their dedicated mentors, applauding them for the positive impact they have on San Diego’s teenage boys. Over three decades, B2M has supported more than 10,000 boys with its three precepts: Listen, Accept, and Encourage. 

B2M is always looking for positive male role models to volunteer in their mentorship program. To learn more about mentorship, call (619) 469-9599. 

Mark your calendars for April 13, when B2M celebrates the 2nd Annual Rooted in Resiliency—an evening filled with inspiration, community building, and a collective commitment to nurturing the futures of young men. Exciting surprises await! www.BoysToMen.org. 

This article can also be found in Giving Back Magazine’s January 2024 edition: (pg 58-59)

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