We interview Matt Theodores who is the director of Maine Boys To Men. Boys To Men supports the happy, healthy, non-violent development of boys and those who help raise them. By working with parents, teachers, coaches, boys and girls, Boys to Men challenges the pervasive messaging that defines masculinity in terms of violence, harassment, apathy and sexual conquest. Their programs support empathy, tolerance, respect, leadership, and critical thinking.
In the interview, we discuss the focus of their program:
The Mission of Boys to Men is to reduce interpersonal violence, specifically male violence against women and girls, and support the development of emotionally fluent, civically engaged boys. Boys to Men will:
• Provide assistance and educational resources to boys and those who help raise them.
• Provide programming to students which challenge traditional gender stereotypes and sexism.
• Increase community awareness about the challenges facing boys and the corresponding bias and violence against girls and women.
Boys to Men envisions a world in which:
• Boys and men are loved and valued for who they intrinsically are without regard to arbitrary cultural stereotypes of masculinity, femininity, and gender roles.
• All boys have the opportunity to develop into healthy men, supported by adult mentors who model healthy masculinity and respectful, nonviolent relationships.
• The absence of violence and fear frees all people to be caring and productive members of society.
Community Responsibility for Raising Healthy Boys:
• It is the responsibility of the entire community to raise healthy, happy, non violent boys.
• Adult male investment in the raising of boys is an indispensable component of transforming boys into men.
• Violence is not the solution to any problem or conflict.
• Violence prevention is an important responsibility of boys and men.
• Every person has the right to live free of threats or acts of violence or abuse.
• Traditional media and cultural representations of masculinity and femininity are too narrowly defined and contribute to destructive and damaging behavior towards individuals of all genders and ages.
• We are committed to eliminating the inequalities and institutional injustices that result from these traditional media and cultural representations of masculinity.
• The ability to honor all people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and/or religion is essential to healthy development.
• Respecting differences is a learned skill/ability and therefore young people must be taught to accept and value themselves, others, and the world around them.
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Todd co-facilitates The Tribe Men’s Group and is now accepting applications for his 2015 retreat. Registration can be found here.
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