Kids and Teens Highlight Corner: Young men find their ‘Passport to Manhood’ at Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne

| May 24, 2016
The Passport to Manhood group.

The Passport to Manhood group.

Courtesy of the Boys & Girls Club and Frost Youth Page Editor Jeanie Summerville

Being a man takes time, commented one of the young Passport to Manhood participants at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne.  If you’ve been around the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne, you’ve probably heard about the positive influence the Passport to Manhood program is having on the young men in our community.  Passport to Manhood is all about inspiring our boys to understand and embrace what it takes to grow into productive, caring and responsible men.  The journey to manhood can be rough, so the Club members that participate in the Passport to Manhood program meet once a week in a supportive environment, where they can talk openly about issues that matter to them.

“We care about all of our members but we know, young males in our community are facing huge challenges as they grow up,” said Joe Jordan, president & CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne. “We want to expose them to as many positive role models as possible. This is a place where they can reflect on themselves and the type of man they aspire to be.  The young participants interact with Club staff and men from the community who share their life experiences—both good and bad—that shaped them as men.  They offer advice on how to avoid mistakes they have made, encourage them to embrace their education and to choose wisely on the path to their future.

Becoming a man, sometimes you make mistakes, one participant reflected after listening to a Passport to Manhood speaker.  But, he and his peers are learning how to handle their frustration and anger, deal with negative influences from friends and make healthy choices.  They hear about how to develop positive relationships with their families, their friends and girlfriends.  They talk about what it takes to be a responsible man, a caring father and a good husband.

Why is it called Passport to Manhood?  Amos Norman, director of operations explained, “Each of our young men has a journal that we call their passport to manhood.  They write the key points they learn from each session and it will serve to remind them of the wisdom they received to guide them on their journey to manhood.”

In addition to weekly meetings, Mr. Norman has spearheaded a new monthly Passport to Manhood seminar that features a keynote speaker and small group discussions with staff and community mentors.  Topics have included “What is Manhood,” “Respecting Yourself” and “Making a Plan B.”

Does the program make a difference?  Last year, 494 young men participated in the program. One said, he now knows that “to get respect, you have to give it.”  Another said, “I’m learning how to love myself.”

Just to make sure the program hits its mark, the Boys & Girls Clubs surveyed the boys about the program and 71 percent of them felt Passport to Manhood helped them with their friendships and almost 60 percent said, it helped them deal with peer pressure.  Almost 90 percent feel that they can confide in their staff mentor.

“I can see for myself the difference that Passport to Manhood is making in our boys and how they are growing through it,” said Joe Jordan, “and that makes me proud, knowing they will grow to be positive role models and leaders in our community.”

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Community, Local, Youth

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.