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Male Mentors in School

In: English and Literature

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Male Mentors in Schools
Kaplan University
Tracy Lindsey

Male Mentors in schools
“Men make up ninety percent of the prison and local jail population, and they have an imprisonment rate fourteen times higher than the rate for women.” (Tsai and Scommegna, 2012). Ernesto isn’t a part of this jaw dropping statistic, but he is a mentor success story. Ernesto is a kid from urban Los Angeles that was having a rough time at home and performing at school. Due to his difficult home life, he was at risk of not graduating, which his teachers recognized and made him aware. He was then admitted into the HBO Mentoring Program in which he began to improve. Shortly thereafter his work ethic began to slip due to home issues as well as other factors. In return all program members provided him “extra support and encouragement” along with his mentor being there every step of the way building his confidence. With this support Ernesto began getting great reports from the teacher and he went on to take the GED pre-test receiving a sixty-two in writing and a sixty-one on social studies, which is outstanding. After all the time and effort invested Ernesto graduated. (Lore, 2002). This one success story can speak for many and really paints that picture that many children need support, encouragement and motivation to empower them to want to succeed in the end. Ernesto is just one I speak of but, troubled young men are prevalent in countless communities and many households, which across the U.S. the low performance schools are located in areas with high incarceration rates. (MSNBC, 2015). “Men account for eight out of ten people cautioned by the police, and nearly nine out of ten people found guilty of indictable offences.” (James, 2014).These young men are the futures of America and should be groomed to fulfill the right path and not increase prison overcrowding. In order to decrease the incarceration rates of these males, they should be assigned male mentors in school. Ideally, a boy’s father should be his first important figure but, for reasons such as abandonment, divorce or death he is absent. According to William Pollack, a boys teen years are “the most perilous and confusing” due to developing various perceptions of what a man is from peers, parents and society. (Bilz, 2004). Failure of early recognition during pre-teen and young adult stages could result in the sky rocketing of the negative demographics already amongst them. Men in their twenties and early thirties face the highest incarceration rate. (Tsai and Scommegna, 2012). These men tend to be less educated, which can be justifiable since approximately 70, 000 juvenile criminal offenders live in detention facilities. (Whibey, 2015). A study conducted on 35, 000 juvenile offenders in Chicago by Anna Aizer and Joseph J. Doyle Jr, showed that juvenile incarceration decreased the high school graduation rate by thirteen to thirty-nine percent and the chances of being incarcerated as an adult by twenty-three to forty-one percent. (2015). I state these statistics not to depict these young men as problems, but as young men who needs help and guidance in staying focused and on track. Many men believe in suffocating their emotions, don’t always take that perception to mean that these young men are okay. Mitigating juvenile detention or incarceration is the first and most important step.
Allowing these mentors to be accessible to these school aged young men is pertinent in creating the building blocks to future success. “There is no shortage of students who need a mentor” (Cravey, 2014). The male figures needed are ones with equal experiences. An example of ways things could go downhill and how to rebuild yourself. One that can provide positive, encouraging influence but would "not give him any slack." (Cravey, 2014). “A boy needs a positive male figure in his life, a role model or mentor who can teach him how to be a man and be a touchstone for his questions and confusion”. (Bilz, 2004). Some need help from potential distractions from peers in order to be pushed and guided in the right direction, and others just need that encouragement that they have excellent potential to be successful, basically building confidence from within. Although mentors are useful tools to success, every solution has a small problem within itself. In some instances mentors can lack the ability to positively influence a mentee. Some feedback from a study conducted by psychologist Lillian Eby was that the mentors “were difficult to talk to or overly critical”, or they had personal issues such as drinking problems that hindered working success. (2001). Although these studies were conducted with negative results, Lillian Eby still thinks that “generally speaking, mentoring is a good thing, just not all the time.” (2001). “A strong male role model can offer a boy a good example of what being a man is all about, and reassure him that becoming a man is a positive, desirable milestone.” It is important for boys that they feel loved from a male. Comments made by therapist Terry Trueman on the positive effects of The Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America, he stated that “Adolescent boys have to know that they’re at the center of the lives of one or more men they respect. If they know they are at the center, they’ll be okay.” (Bilz, 2004).
In conclusion, these young men need assistance to gain the odds in their favor. The troubling statistics against young men today should be counteracted with positive influences. A mentor can be that positive influence that will support and motivate them to achieve a higher goal and foundation in order to better themselves. Troubled young men do not need confinement, they need strong male figures to assist them in making positive self-images for the generation that is to follow. Let’s decrease the demographics, not add to. Allow these leaders to assist our young men with dedication and motivation to provide them fair opportunities of being future businessmen.

References
Bilz, R. (2004). Mentors and Role Models. In Life is tough: Guys, growing up, and young adult literature (pp. 131-134). Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=DajPHYl25C0C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
Cravey, B. R. (2014, September 15). Guiding hand for a young man with a dream: Some high schools get mentoring program; teen glad to have help. Florida Times Union.
Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.lib.kaplan.edu/docview/1566174671/fulltext/4F070B97B1C64978PQ/1?accountid=34544
The Hidden Pitfalls of Mentoring - Businessweek. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2001-04-16/the-hidden-pitfalls-of-mentoring
James, E. (2014, June 28). Mentoring is what young men crave without realizing it. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jun/28/mentoring-is-what-young-men-crave-band-of-brothers
LoRe, T. (2002). Youth Mentoring Connection - Our Successful Partnerships. Retrieved from http://www.youthmentoring.org/04our_suc.html

MSNBC. (n.d.). Incarceration vs. education - Video on NBCNews.com [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/video/msnbc/42520689#42520689

References
Scommegna, P., & Tsai, T. (2012, August). U.S. Has World's Highest Incarceration Rate. Retrieved from http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2012/us-incarceration.aspx

Wihbey, J. (2015, February 4). Juvenile incarceration and its impact on high school graduation rates and adult jail time - Journalist's Resource Journalist's Resource. Retrieved from http://journalistsresource.org/studies/government/criminal-justice/juvenile-incarceration-long-term-consequences…...

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