Southern Gulf Islands Pass It On Boys
Leadership and Mentorship Program
This project came about because of SWOVA’s belief in the leadership and well-being of boys and young men.
Boys and young men in rural communities face many barriers to full participation in family, school and community life as a result of gender stereotypes, social media pressures and experiences of family and peer relationship violence, racism, poverty and homophobia. Research indicates that the pressure boys and young men face can place them at risk for underperformance in school, truancy, substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices, unemployment and mental health issues including depression, anxiety and suicide.
In the initial phase of this project in 2016 (Pass It On: Engaging Boys and Men’s Project) we addressed health and wellness needs of boys and young men in our community. This was done through a series of roundtable discussions and input from boys and young men in the community to determine their needs for support as they navigate their way into adulthood.
The Pass It On Boys Program responds to the request for mentorship between boys and men. 15-30 adult men will offer mentorship from their own life experience and will explore subjects including self-esteem, healthy masculinity, sexism, health and wellness, leadership, academic success and violence prevention.
The Project Objectives include:
- Explore concepts of masculinity and positive, healthy ways to be men
- Challenge gender roles and stereotypes
- Develop leadership skills, self-confidence, and self-awareness
- Build skills for mental health prevention and promotion
- Celebrate diversity and learn from others different from ourselves
- Develop connection and support among peers
- Practice empathy and increase emotional intelligence
- Build skills and awareness in healthy and safe decision-making
- Explore what a healthy relationship looks like, how to practice consent, how to be a good friend
- 10-15 trained mentors (young men) will have increased their leadership and mentorship skills in the area of violence prevention
- High risk behaviors among boys and young men in our community will have been reduced
The Project Council (trans and non-binary inclusive) will be comprised of volunteer students, fathers, local business professionals, teachers, law enforcement and health practitioners. The project coordinator will also contribute as part of the health and wellness network of island professionals.