Maine Boys to Men: Engaging Youth as Agents of Change

As a national leader in supporting the development of healthy masculinity, Maine Boys to Men is committed to providing youth a space, resources, and a voice to process and create new ways of understanding societal expectations and consequences of gender-based injustice. 

The Problem

Our nation stands at an important moment. The intersection of the #Metoo movement, daily cases of bullying based on gender identity among youth, and tragic shootings carried out overwhelmingly by men or boys have led many to reflect upon societal forces rooted in our understandings of gender socialization, power, and privilege. For 20 years, Maine Boys to Men has been providing interactive workshops to thousands of Maine youth (middle and high school students) where topics such as gender identity, healthy relationships, consent, and related topics can be explored in a safe and supportive environment. In participating in our Reducing Sexism and Violence Program, youth go through a process of gaining awareness, reflecting on their experiences and beliefs, listening to others, developing empathy, and thinking critically about individual roles related to gender justice. Most importantly, youth are provided the skills needed to intervene when they see or experience gender-based harassment.

The Solution

This project builds on the solid evidence-based foundation of Maine Boys to Men’s current community wide programs to engage girls and boys as leaders in challenging, sexism, gender-based violence, and our culture’s rigid definition of masculinity.

While tackling gender-based violence requires the support of everyone – men, women, boys and girls, we recognize the crucial role that youth play in this work. Youth who have attended the Reducing Sexism and Violence Program (RSVP) and are interested in carrying on the work of Maine Boys to Men are invited to join the Youth Advisory Council.

Research on social change suggests that truly challenging social norms, beliefs and practices, requires ongoing educational work. The project ‘Engaging Youth as Agents of Change’ seeks to continue supporting the work of developing youth as leaders in creating a society that is safe, healthy and equitable for all.

Planned Use Of Funds

The Youth Advisory Council has led youth summits, created specific school-based awareness campaigns and has offered segments of the RSVP workshops to other students. Financial support of this project would provide students a place, time, and the resources needed to maintain these kinds of activities. If selected, these funds would support the crucial work of the youth council in providing resources and support for ongoing workshops and youth summits.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

Maine Boys to Men

This project was nominated by: