Sunday, October 14, 2007

From the News Feed

The program featured below sounds fantastic. I really love that they have students create materials that can be used in a larger way after the fact. It must give the participants a particular sense of pride in taking action to stop violence. Not to mention the peer-to-peer authentic voices.

I found it by clicking "Rape Prevention" in the little News Feed sidebar over there.

One interesting thing only the Development Director would notice - Walmart is one of the sponsors.


‘Steppin’ in 2 Manhood’ shows young men good choices

By Laurie Gordon

Sparta - Rudyard Kipling had a definition of manhood. So did Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons. What are young men today to think of their roles as men in American culture?

They got some help with that with the “Steppin’ in 2 Manhood: Facing New Challenges” conference held Tuesday, Oct. 2 at Sussex County Technical School.

“Our goals [with this conference] are to support young men in recognizing and challenging the pervasive cultural messages that narrowly define masculinity, to provide an opportunity for them to discuss and appreciate the diverse and positive aspects of being a man, to collaborate on ways to confront societal stereotypes, and to gain skills helpful in relating to others,” Jamie Bernard, executive director of the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Intervention Services, co-sponsor of the event, said, “And of course, we hope they have a good time.”

Co-sponsor was the Strength Without Violence Community Alliance for this third annual conference for young men.

Bernard said the conference: “encouraged young men in the community to be empowered bystanders when it comes to interpersonal violence. We are asking them to be proactive in preventing relationship violence and sexual assault by challenging attitudes and beliefs that contribute to these issues.”

Lectures addressed some of the pressures young men experience like asking a girl for a date. They were urged to “step up and be a man.”

In the day long string of workshops, young men from high schools throughout Sussex County, used communication tools, such as public service announcements, songs and artwork which will help bring prevention messages to their schools and communities. “Their input is important, so there was ample time for discussion,” Bernard said,

Kathy Moser, a songwriter and musician who has opened for such popular bands as 10,000 Maniacs, and has held benefit performances at movements including NJ Peace Action and the World Women’s Conference on the Environment, facilitated the songwriting workshop. “You put it into your words,” she urged the young men as they together created a song to discourage a would-be date from stereotyping. Words like “Don’t categorize me into something I’m not” made up the up-beat, rap-ish song one group created.

Outside, a graffiti artist named Kez 5 showed his group how to use creative graffiti signs to express feelings. Scott Landy, a senior at Sparta High School, worked with a group including sophomore Alex Iofredo, from Hopatcong High. “This is really fun,” said Landy, “It’s a great day, you meet people from other schools and there’s a lot of really good information.” Landy said it was “totally random” that he went to the conference and “I’m so glad I got to come.” He said, “I was getting an apple in the lunch room when one of my teachers came up to me and told me about it. Sounded like a great day.”

Other facilitators included Dr. Michael Fowlin. An actor since age 11, Fowlin now works in peer mediation, diversity workshops, violence prevention and gender sensitivity. Paper Tiger TV was also on hand to assist with media education efforts and Springboard Tanning, LLC sent Dr. Judith Springer and Christopher Irving, M.A. In addition, Dennis Pladini, a teacher for 25 years and Commercial Art instructor at Sussex County Technical School, provided an artwork display created by students from his past classes.

Sponsors included The United Way of Sussex County, WalMart, Bagel Station, Verizon Wireless and Sussex County Technical School.


Kelsey said...

WalMart? Seriously? When did they start to care about primary prevention with young boys?

Well, good for them. I'm still skeptical!

Linda said...

LOL Kelsey - me too!

michaelbartley said...

I am 60 years old and I am still wondering what being man means. I grew up on John Wayne and football and I like both John Wayne and football! I also learned while I like those things it wasn't me only part of me.
I do volunteer work at Hosford Middle School and it is very interesting to see those young students start to explore there sense of what it is to be a man or a woman. Sometimes it is very frigthening, to see young women play dumb to be accepted by some young man.

Linda said...

that is a great comment, michael. thanks for adding your voice to this discussion. i worry about it too because of my daughter. our culture can be so insidious with its messages about sex, sexuality and power.