CHALLENGING THE ODDS
The literature is replete with studies, reports, and statistics showing that boys raised in single parent homes are at risk in a number of areas. The U.S. Department of Health reports that fatherless homes are responsible for 63% of all suicides among youth. In addition, the rates of chemical dependency, commission of crimes, psychological disorders and dropping out of school are all dramatically increased among children from single family households. These children also tend to become sexually active and experiment with alcohol and drugs at a younger age. Aggression is more prevalent among fatherless children. And, not surprisingly, fatherless homes account for almost all homeless and run away children.
Rick Dunn, founder of Men2Boys, looked past the high school athletes he was coaching and saw young men facing challenges, and tough decisions. He saw boys with no father figure who needed someone to reach out to them in some meaningful way, to provide encouragement they might not be able to get elsewhere.
So, in April of 2010, Men2Boys was born. Since then, the program has held a number of events and reached out to over 200 boys from twenty cities in Southern Florida.
One of these events was the Entrepreneurship Workshop. In this six week program, the boys learned the importance of entrepreneurship and discussed the opportunities available to them in their “internet generation”. They also began to get comfortable with business terminology, a factor which would open not only business but also educational doors for them later on.
The boys discussed business ideas, then choosing one, developed a business plan. From there, they determined how their business would be financed, marketed and operated. And, as a very important side note, they discussed how to handle success.
For their final project, the boys held a half - day event, which they developed through all of the steps they had learned, and earned close to $750.00.
It was clear they had been listening. These boys gave up two to three hours every Saturday for six weeks during their summer vacation to attend this workshop. Obviously, Men2Boys was feeding hunger in the young men for knowledge and understanding that they couldn’t get anywhere else. The talented instructors, both young entrepreneurs themselves, volunteered their time for the boys.
Men2Boys is a mentoring program whose “mantra” is “each one reach one”. Rick Dunn is not alone in his efforts to mentor these young men. Among the many volunteers drawn to the Men2Boys vision are vocal artist Ramon “Absoloot” Robinson, Bruce Taylor, Michael Elliott, and Ewan Spaulding, Sr. There are also volunteer instructors for the workshops and seminars.
Rick Dunn believes that;
Education + an Information Resource = Success.
Thus far, everything he has done with Men2Boys has been in keeping with that belief. In addition to the entrepreneurial workshop, Men2Boys offers SAT and ACT preparation, which will soon include 9th and 10th graders in an effort to set the groundwork for future success.
An exciting and important upcoming event is the Choices and Decisions seminar. It will be a round table discussion for thirteen to eighteen year old boys. The idea is to have a mature, candid and “real” conversation about consequences and responsibilities. Given the difficult choices these boys face every day, having such a forum to voice their questions and concerns could be invaluable.
Rick Dunn has accomplished a feat of greatness with Men2Boys. Not only has he put together an outstanding program for young men to come and learn and discuss, but, more importantly, he has gotten them to come and be a part of it. Apathy is one of the great dangers that faces our youth. Rick Dunn has found a way to overcome it, if only a handful at a time. But that handful soon becomes a gym full, then a school full. He’s started it rolling with no signs of slowing.
Visit Men2Boys’ website at http://www.men2boysmentoring.org/ and always remember, “each one, reach one.”