“I appreciate more than words can express the time and attention you gave both of my sons during their high school and college years. They both are doing well and pursuing their dreams, so you can see OUR hard work was not in vain.”
A letter received around this time of year usually comes from one of two sources: a friend or family member recalling their family’s accomplishments during the year with the hope that you’ll be impressed or a nonprofit organization recalling their accomplishments during the year with the hope that you’ll give them money. The above quote comes from a different kind of letter that I receive around the holidays: letters from the parents of Men of Strength (MOST) Club members. The joy in these letters comes from knowing that we as a community of parents, coaches, teachers, and other mentors were able to work together to produce exceptional Men of Strength.
In times when the struggle to prevent violence and promote healthy masculinity seems overwhelmed by media authorities, politicians, and popular figures condoning rape culture, it is so necessary to be reminded of where the real work lies. It lies in the young men who I first met almost a decade ago mentioned in that letter, one who is now a teacher in Washington, DC and the other a college student in New York. The work lies in the truant girls and boys who were once thought unreachable and are now finding their potential in MOST Clubs and WISE (Women Inspiring Strength and Empowerment) Clubs. It lies in the middle school MOST Club member in South Carolina who said that when his mother died, MOST Club was his family.
We’ve accomplished a lot this year at Men Can Stop Rape. We’ve engaged thousands of young people, trained hundreds of professionals, launched a mobile app for victims of crime, and travelled across the country facilitating Healthy Masculinity Town Halls. We’ve reached all segments of the population from underserved children in Washington, DC to oil workers living in “Man Camps” in North Dakota. We couldn’t have done any of this without the support of people like you. Whether you’ve donated money or time to us or whether you’ve simply been a positive presence in a young person’s life, we want to thank you for making our work possible. It’s not too late to help support MOST and WISE Clubs in communities across America with your gift this year.
With all of the miles flown, the miles driven, and the slices of pizza served this year, the work is tough. But receiving a letter like that from a MOST Club parent reminds me of all of the joy that comes with a life where young people are prioritized. Please, take this holiday season to be a mentor for the young people in your life, whether they are your children or the children of others. As we see with the letter, strong young women and men are raised by a whole community. The work of raising young people is not the work of others; it is OUR work.
P.S. December 31st, 2013 is your last chance to give your tax-deductible gift to Men Can Stop Rape and file it with your 2013 taxes.