Making A Difference In The Lives Of San Diego’s Fatherless Teens
Monday, September 16, 2013
Aired 9/16/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Craig McClain, Executive Director and Co-founder, Boys to Men Mentoring Network
Dana Wright, Principal, Spring Valley Middle School
A San Diego nonprofit is making a difference in the lives of fatherless teenaged boys.
The goal of Boys to Men Mentoring Network is to change the path some of these boys are on, keep them out of trouble and give them alternatives with the guidance of a father figure.
Craig McClain, executive director and co-founder, says his organization mentors boys between the ages of 12 and 17. He says 75 percent of them are growing up without a father - at a time when they are starting to make decisions that could impact their lives.
Every week Boys to Men mentors show up at middle schools, high schools and foster care facilities to give teenage boys a community of mentors who listen, encourage and believe in them.
McClain says this helps young men gain higher self-esteem and a greater capacity for compassion and empathy. He says this gives them a chance at becoming future leaders in their community and productive citizens in society.
The community-based mentoring program is currently in eight San Diego County schools, but they hope to expand beyond that.
McClain says the Boys To Men program differs from the Big Brother program in that they offer one-on-one mentoring, plus group mentoring, experiential mentor training, boys adventure weekend, and bi-weekly follow up activities for boys and mentors.
Each prospective mentor must go through a background check and a one-day training program. McClain says while they focus on fatherless teens, all boys need good men in their lives, even those who have fathers.
The 4th Annual 100 Wave Challenge, a fundraiser to raise money and awareness for the Boys to Men program, will be held this weekend, Saturday, September 21, at Mission Beach. During the surf-a-thon, around 150 surfers will attempt to ride 100 waves each in 12 hours.