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home : schools : othello school district May 2, 2016

9/17/2013 3:50:00 PM
Group gives guys a chance

Girls' Circle, a program to help teenage girls deal with the problems facing them, has been meeting every week for the past couple years. Now, it's the boys turn.
The first cycle of Boys' Council started Sept. 9. The program, put on through Adams County Juvenile Services, will be lead by Girls' Circle coordinator Angie Valdovinos and ACJS probation officer Laz Martinez.
Right now, for the first cycle, the group has been limited to 15 participants. Some are court ordered, some are recommended by high school counselors as those who may not be in trouble with the law but are at higher risk for negative behavior and some are volunteers within the school community.
Now that they have the participants and the leaders, the group is looking for male role models who would like to stop by and share with the guys a little something about their experiences and how to make positive choices in their lives.
The Girls' Circle program has female mentors and it works great, so now Boys' Circle needs some male ones, Valdovinos said.
Becky Garcia, with New Home Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services, will be helping out with Boys' Council, in addition to her work with the Girls' Circle.
The program is made possible through donations from the community, Valdovinos said. The money came in from the Othello Rotary Club through Evergreen Implement and Columbia ColStor.
Working with the guys is going to be a bit different than the program for the girls, Valdovinos said. Instead of focusing on emotions and feelings, they will focus on goal-orienteed discussions and group exercises. Instead of a final party, they may do something like organize a sporting event or tournament.
Boys' Council carries with it a 12-week curriculum. The biggest challenge will be getting the boys engaged in discussion, Valdovinos said.
One way to do that is to include a physical activity with the lesson. With the girls, it's easy to rely on craft projects and color and glitter. Not so much with the boys.
Their first week talked about breaking through fears. So, with some donated wood, the guys wrote their fears onto a board. Things they are most scared of, like losing a family member. Then, they broke the boards, literally breaking through their biggest fears.
This will be the trend of the activities over the course of the 12 weeks, Valdovinos said, with more hands-on activities and focusing on things like carpentry and skills that can translate to real life.
As she gets to know the guys, she will be able to tailor the lessons to where their strengths are and help them lessen their weaknesses, she said.
"I'm nervous but very excited," Valdovinos said.
Some of them have never known a positive influence in their lives, so she is excited to help them break the chain and help them understand the idea of picking heroes who really matter, how positive role models can make all the difference.
A lot of the kids come from broken homes or places where they do not know any positive enforcement. Valdovinos is looking to change that, she said.
They will also work on things like conflict resolution and how to deal with anger.
In the future, Valdovinos hopes to also add things like job skills to the mix, helping the young men become prepared to enter the workforce or go on to higher education after leaving high school.

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