Touchstone Honoree: Men as Peacemakers

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Mega sounds like a big deal, right? And it is for the 100+ kids who are part of the program run by Men as Peacemakers.

It stands for Making Equal Genders Awesome.

Each week, four youth program specialists spend time with elementary, middle and high school students in Duluth.

They work on lessons about toxic masculinity, and so much more.

Recently, kids at Laura MacArthur worked on positivity portraits. Pictures of themselves, with phrases and words that describe them.

Sarah Curtiss, the executive director for Men as Peacemakers, explained, ‘We really focus on the concept that we are all connected. So what we do is primarily prevention work. Which is looking at stopping harm before it starts.”

It’s also always changing. Sylvia Houle, a program specialist, shared more. “We’re also seeing the kids contribute to by giving us feedback, but also sharing with us some things that they would like to see and having. It’s something for them to relate to and that just makes the experience more enriching for both sides.”

It had been a program for boys, but then expanded to be more inclusive.

Pentti Hanlon, another program specialist, added, “We also dedicate two months every year to talking about race and gender in the schools, and we spend a lot of that time talking about stereotypes that people have heard about what people of any given race or gender can and can’t do. And then we work to to break those those stereotypes apart.”

Serrano Robinson, another specialist, has been with the program for about six years. He said sometimes the kids come up to him, and share how it’s helped. “He said, I really appreciate the time you took with specifically when I was younger. He had struggled with anger, and he’d ask for help understanding his emotions. It was amazing to be a part of that journey.”

They all find it rewarding to work with these kids.

“And you can just see how important it is for these kids to have that time, to have that space where they’re able to be open, where they’re able to be honest, and where they’re able to be heard,” added Isabel Dokhanchi, another program specialist.

For more information about Men as Peacemakers:

The Touchstone Celebration is coming up at 6:30pm right here on WDIO.