2022 has started off with a bang! We’ve brought our Reducing Sexism & Violence Program (RSVP®) to motivated, insightful, and inspired youth at York High School, Exeter High School, Mount Ararat Middle School, Baxter Academy, and Cape Elizabeth Middle School. At Exeter High School, one of our staff led the workshop with an Exeter High social worker who had previously completed our Training Institute; the collaboration was rich and showed us the power of the Training Institute model.
We’d like to give a shout-out to the folks in Kennebec County who joined us for a more private Training Institute at the impressive Alfond Youth Center. Participants courageously moved through our two-day program with compassion and thoughtfulness for the youth they serve in this community. They all expressed gratitude for this program and highlighted the need for this work in more rural areas of the state. We imagine that this will be a partnership that will strengthen into the future and that will warrant further connections.
We are also planning two “Fatherhood: Generations of Change” workshops. One will be offered over four evenings in March; the other will be a Saturday retreat in April. Please join us if you identify as a father and would like to develop new strategies and skills to care for yourself as a father; build connections with other fathers; and learn to communicate effectively, particularly on topics related to gender and sexuality
Speaking of youth, the impressive group of youth change makers in our Youth Advisory Council has once again been meeting weekly, and their commitment to our mission is beyond inspiring. Current Youth Council projects include planning a youth-led training in April and recording new episodes of The Youth Take podcast.
We were also pleased to have the opportunity to present to the Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence. We talked about how Maine Boys to Men helps to create culture change within schools, including the work one of our contractors has done, through a student survey, to bring policy improvements at a district level to Portland schools.
We love what we do, in part because of the enthusiasm of the students and youth we work with. They are incredibly appreciative of our work, which is fun and which also leads, though the discussions of gender stereotypes, empathy, consent, and up-stander intervention, to conversations rich with vulnerability and honesty.