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ERIC Number: EJ980179
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
Growing Boys: Implementing a Boys' Empowerment Group in an Afterschool Program
Hall, Georgia; Charmaraman, Linda
Afterschool Matters, n13 p49-51 Spr 2011
The process of establishing a healthy male identity can be difficult for many boys. The limited definitions of masculinity available to boys and men are generally characterized by competition, repression of fear and emotion, and physical and emotional strength. Boys of color and those of lower economic status tend to encounter even fewer healthy alternatives for defining their maleness than do their white and better-off counterparts. Boys who need support in choosing positive and healthy pathways could benefit from an intervention that gives them space and time to share information, to work and play cooperatively, and to grow healthy identities. While inclusive grouping is an important part of building community in a youth development program, common-interest groups such as girls' or boys' empowerment groups can help members grow and support one another. In this article, the authors describe the results of a case study they conducted of one such group, an afterschool empowerment group for middle school boys. Using elements of ethnographic study, the authors examined participants' reactions to the work they did together in the empowerment group and explored the characteristics that made the group leaders effective in facilitating that work. The authors' goal was to discover how a boys' empowerment group could help participants avoid risky behaviors such as joining a gang or engaging in interpersonal violence, while instead making healthier choices that could lead to positive growth. Their findings on the benefits of participation in a boys' empowerment group suggest that these steps are valuable and worthwhile. Boys in the empowerment group they studied lived daily in a delicate balance between safety and harm across a host of domains--physical, emotional, social, academic. The authors saw some of them experience dramatic changes in their attitudes toward school and relationships. When a boys' empowerment group is done right--and has the right leadership--it can change lives.
National Institute on Out-of-School Time. Wellesley Centers for Women, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02481. Tel: 781-283-2547; Fax: 781-283-3657; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A