September 28, 2005

Guys Read

"When it comes to boys and reading, a lot of boys are having trouble reading." Author Jon Scieszka is one very cool dude. He's got this very funky website dedicated to getting young guys to read. He points out the following data:

* The U.S. Department of Education reading tests for the last 30 years show boys scoring worse than girls in every age group, every year.

* Eighth grade boys are 50 percent more likely to be held back than girls.

* Two-thirds of Special Education Students in high school are boys.

* Overall college enrollment is higher for girls than boys.

As part of his important mission he says he wants to:

1. Make some noise for boys. We have literacy programs for adults and families. GUYS READ is our chance to call attention to boys literacy.

2. Expand our definition of reading. Include boy-friendly nonfiction, humor, comics, graphic novels, action- adventure, magazines, websites, and newspapers in school reading. Let boys know that all these materials count as reading.

3. Give boys choice. Motivate guys to want to read by letting them choose texts they will enjoy. Find out what they want. Let them choose from a new, wider range of reading.

4. Encourage male role models. Men have to step up as role models of literacy. What we do is more important than all we might say.

5. Be realistic. Start small. Boys aren't believing that reading is wonderful. Reading is often difficult and boring for them. Let's start with here is one book/magazine/text you might like.

6. Spread the GUYS READ word. Encourage people to use the information and downloads on this site to set up their own chapters of GUYS READ, and get people thinking about boys and reading.

Check out to learn more about what this inspired man is doing for boys. He is definitely one of my heroes.

September 21, 2005

Pathways Foundation Camp

This is yet another solid program that enriches men and boys on their journey to manhood. Since 1995 they have been hosting a program that involves a five day camp attended by boys and their fathers (or an appropriate male mentor). I love their goal statement: The aim of Pathways is to bring out the potential in young men and have them full of hope and inspiration as they look to the future. To see a model of a very successful program and for inspiration about what you might create in your community, check out their site.

September 15, 2005

Public - Private Miracles!

Amachi is an Ibo, West African, word that means, “Who knows but what God has brought us through this child.” It is also the name of a program that is a partnership between Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Maryland and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Amachi is a nationwide program, which began in Philadelphia, and is growing rapidly in Central Maryland. This program connects children of prisoners with people of faith, and so far the Maryland program has created more than 200 matches from 30 congregations. It is commonly known that children of prisoners are likely to end up in prison themselves without positive intervention by caring adults. I'd say that 200 matches with the potential to keep a lot of kids out of prison represents a whole bunch of miracles.

Could the people at your place of worship step up for something like that?

Check it out.

September 9, 2005


e-Mentoring is a program from Achieve Minneapolis. It hooks up school kids with working adults... by email! Now you can make a difference in a kid's life from your computer. The e-Mentoring model is simple. One student is matched with one mentor. The students and mentors exchange weekly e-mail messages, and have occasional face-to-face meetings for a personal connection. Teachers provide specific assignments that direct e-mail communications between the partners. And at the completion of the program, everyone celebrates!

Achieve Minneapolis even offers you the complete manual on their website so you can start a program like this in your company or community. Their research says that, "Evaluation of e-Mentoring programs shows that great relationships develop between students and mentors. Teachers give the program high marks, and employers see benefits not only to students, but also to company employee volunteers."

If you're at all digital, here's a way to make a big difference with and elegantly simple program.

September 6, 2005

Communities In Schools

XY-Zone: This program, based in central Texas, is sponsored by Communities In Schools, or CIS. It's a great expample of an how an orgainzation can put human arms around young males. Their website points out that CIS, through the XY-Zone, "...provides participants with job readiness services, support groups, mentors, community service projects, peer education, and facilitates group discussions around issues associated with men's health information and adolescent pregnancy." Very nice.