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safe zone for students to re ect on and change old behavior patterns. “A really cool one that happened last year was when some of the boys were having problems with a new teacher. ‘She’s yelling at us, sending us to the of- ce.’ e boys were getting up without permission, going to the restroom, throwing paper away in the middle of class and they didn’t realize that all those things were adding up to going to the o ce,” says mentor, Sam Wilburn. e mentors challenged the boys for the next two weeks to change their behavior and put the seventh graders in charge of keeping them accountable. “At the end of two weeks, they couldn’t believe how she changed. ‘She’s so much nicer to us. She’s not sending us to the o ce,’ they said, and realized that by changing themselves they had changed her,” says Wilburn. Mentors help students see how their behavior, such as bullying, ripples out to a ect others. Returning for the second year of BTM, one student announced that he had stop bullying. “We have an open circle and we asked the kids how bullying had affected them. He realized how pushing, shoving and degrading the other kids was a ecting them,” says Wilburn. e mentors also help the boys to explore unexpected e ects of their behavior. “ ey bullied a kid and he got fed up. A football came across and hit him, not on purpose, and he went over and punched the other kid. He’d had enough. So we explained to the boys, you may be bullying and you think it comes back at you and it | TUESDAY, APRIL 26, 2016 7 doesn’t. Sometimes it goes a er an innocent person,” says Wilburn. At the Adventure Weekend, an integral part of the BTM program, the boys have a chance to take stock and make lasting connections. “ ey’re away from the distractions of everyday life and given the opportunity to look at themselves, see what they want for themselves in their lives, what might be standing in their way and come up with solutions for how to move past those obstacles in life,” says Evans. “ ere’s a lot of connection and trust built on that weekend. ey get to test their boundaries, and when mistakes are made, they’re learning opportunities. Nobody is made to feel that they are wrong or that they’re shamed.” Evans adds, “Both the men’s group and BTM is about getting in touch with ourselves and stepping into being leaders in our own lives. So that’s what we want — to empower boys to take charge of their own lives.” e success of the program was evident at this year’s Connect for Success award ceremony on April 8. “It’s really heartwarming to see all the awards that the kids get. Each and every boy in our group gets an award,” he adds. anks to the willingness of many volunteer mentors, the Boys to Men program is strengthening our island canoe, one boy at a time. Cover Story CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: e mentors and students throw footballs together as part of the a ernoon activity; Steve Evans, the lead mentor at Waimea Middle School, leads a check-in session with teens and mentor Ciro Podany at the Boys to Men weekly gathering; Waimea Middle School provides e ective mentoring practices for adolescents through the Boys to Men program. (PHOTOS BY GEORGE FULLER | SPECIAL TO NHN); is past January the boys had a chance to take stock and make lasting connections at the Adventure Weekend. (COURTESY PHOTO)


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