Michael smiles while talking to a group of fellow male students

Learning key communication skills is everything.

As a young man, Michael reacted to situations in life as he thought a man should. He often responded to stress and emotional situations with what he defined as strength, usually involving anger and aggression.

Sadness and unhappiness were difficult for Michael because he’d never learned how to address those feelings. He found himself getting into trouble and inappropriate responses often impacted his personal and school relationships.

Hearing about the WiseGuyz program at his school through a friend, Michael decided to tag along for a session. Michael immediately felt at ease in the safe and supportive environment. He felt like he was part of a group who really cared, could relate to what he was going through and could give him the tools to approach stress and tension in his life in a positive way.

Even though the program had already run half way through the curriculum, Michael decided to join for the remainder of the sessions.

Michael was interested in session topics ranging from learning to communicate boundaries to homophobia to bullying, and his program facilitator noticed Michael sharing more, supporting the other young men in the program and growing his abilities to respond appropriately to the stress in his life.

All In for Youth has created 6,854 positive adult-youth connections through programs like Success Coaches and tutoring.

According to Calgary Sexual Health WiseGuyz program facilitator, Ian Myhra, Michael’s experience with the program is quite common for the young men who go through the program. Already proven successful with junior high students, Central Memorial piloted the program last school year with Michael’s cohort.

“WiseGuyz is a program that addresses recent trends around cultural and media messages about what it means to be a man,” said Ian. “We work to engage participants on a weekly basis in a safe and familiar school setting, where we explore topics related to human rights, sexual health, gender and positive relationships. It’s been such a success for many of our participants, and we’re excited to expand the reach of the program and impact even more young people.”

At Central Memorial, Ian says he’s not only seen an impact in the group of young men participating in the WiseGuyz program, but also in their peer groups and the school culture itself, an effect which he says will become greater as more students go through the program.

Sessions help young men face issues and give them tools to engage in healthy relationships; understand the connection between masculinity, male norms and violence; and, to attain sexual health knowledge as well as the tools to engage in healthy relationships moving forward.

Congratulations to the WiseGuyz team for their impact and for being All In for Calgary youth!


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