January 5, 2005

Uncle - Helping Boys become Men

Uncle: is a spectacular example of everything I'm writing about in the book. This Australian organization is partially funded by the government, but in large part by private donations. It's very impressive. Here's how they describe themselves:

"Uncle is an monitoring and activities program for local boys without active fathers, a community-based organization committed to guiding and supporting young boys in their personal development during a challenging period of their lives. Uncle recruits, screens, trains, co-ordinates, monitors and evaluates the support of uncles in this role. Uncle also organisms, facilitates and sets up many activities, events and happenings for boys and men to play and learn together."

They describe their reason for existence as the tragic statistics that are common across the planet... which beg the question, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT!

In Australian towns and cities, as in many other modern societies today, many families grow up estranged and many boys grow up un- or under-fathered. The North Coast has the highest proportion of single parents (almost always mothers) in Australia, with 47% of children from single parent families in Byron Shire compared to the National average of 23%. Boys in these families are at great risk. We know that boys who have inadequate fathering are:

63% more at risk of suicide
85% more likely to have behavioral problems
71% more likely to drop out of school
70% more likely to end up in a juvenile state institution

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