connect Winner / 2016
The Man2Man Project: Preventing boys from becoming dads too early and helping teen dads to step up!
Please describe your project proposal.
The Man2Man Project will expand the lauded Young Dads program at Friends of the Family in two ways. Adult male volunteers will be recruited and trained to provide one-to-one mentorship for Young Dads participants, a majority of whom did not have a father or male role model as they grew up. The Project will simultaneously train the Young Dads participants to work with middle and high school at-risk boys in an effort to prevent them from also becoming fathers too soon.
Which of the connect metrics will your proposal impact?
- Social & emotional support
- Rates of volunteerism
In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- San Fernando Valley
Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to connect?
The Man2Man Project (M2M) will help make LA the best place to connect by creating a network of support for boys and young men from disadvantaged neighborhoods who struggle to break the cycles of teen pregnancy and single parenthood that contribute to generational poverty and lack of opportunity. The Project will be anchored in Friends of the Family’s Young Dads program, a long-term training and support program with a 20 year track record of success. Research confirms that poverty has great negative impact on children and teens, creating an atmosphere of chronic stress that impairs attention and concentration and can lead to depression, low self-esteem and a sense of powerlessness over the future. Children being raised by a single parent miss out on learning about healthy relationships. For boys, the absence of a positive male role model at critical developmental stages has a long-lasting impact. They emerge from their homes into a culture that links masculinity with toughness, violence, and sex. They face social pressures to initiate sex at an early age, a pregnancy happens, and the cycle is set to repeat itself for another generation. The Man2Man Project seeks to interrupt this cycle by influencing two key metrics selected to measure progress toward making LA the best place to connect – enhancing social and emotional support and increasing volunteerism, in this case among multiple generations of boys and men in our community. It has two key components: (1) the Young Dads Impact Team and (2) the Adult Mentor program. Young Dads Impact Team members will be trained and coached to connect with middle/high school youths to educate them about male responsibility for teen pregnancy prevention and the real-life challenges of being a young dad. This approach capitalizes on the peer-to-peer influence of young men who are close to the youths in age, come from their own community, and face the same challenges they do. This activity also increases the self-esteem of the Young Dads as they recognize that that their life experiences have value as they are “giving back” to the community. The Adult Mentor Program will provide the kind of mentorship that Young Dads need as a part of their ongoing support system. Adult male volunteers will be recruited from a variety of sources – academia, business, trades, sports, churches, retirees – successful men with a wide span of life experience to share. They will be trained and supervised by qualified FOF staff to develop enriching relationships with individual Young Dads and provide insight, advice, and encouragement. In turn, the Young Dads will be coached to become mentors for younger men following in their footsteps. By fostering the development of a vital network for men and boys to support each other “man to man” around the importance of responsible fatherhood, the M2M Project will impact future generations and help make LA the best place to connect.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
The proposed activities for the Man2Man Project are designed to give at-risk young males hope, goals, purpose, a positive attitude, and the knowledge and skills to become responsible adults and successful parents. Objectives include:
- Recruit, train, and involve at least 150 participants (15 Young Dads, 15 Adult Mentors, 120 middle and high school youths) over a one year period
- Increase social and emotional connections to positive male mentors and peers
- Increase the rate of volunteerism in our community
- Increase knowledge of male responsibility in pregnancy prevention
- Increase respect for importance of parenting responsibilities and skills
- Increase goal setting skills
- Increase leadership, organization, and presentation skills
- Increase respect for women and girls, especially parenting partners
- Decrease incidence of unplanned pregnancies Friends of the Family (FOF) will develop and administer validated evaluation surveys to measure progress toward these objectives before, during, and after activities and will gather qualitative data via group and one-to-one discussions throughout the project. The surveys will measure changes in perceptions, attitudes, knowledge, and behavior. The domains of social and emotional competence, connectedness, and rates of volunteerism will be prominent measureable components of the evaluation. FOF utilizes a web-based data system called Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) to organize and track program information
How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?
- Community outreach
- Network/relationship support