SEL Awardee

Michele LaForge

South Portland High School
South Portland School District
South Portland, ME
“We will partner with Maine Boys to Men (MBTM), an organization with over twenty years of experience in youth leadership development and the creators of one of the world's most comprehensive gender-based violence prevention initiatives that engages youth and adults in supporting the healthy development of boys as a means of reducing sexism, violence, and self-harm while advancing gender equity. MBTM programs are rooted in experiential, self referral, reflective SEL activities that center learning in empathy, connection and belonging. This grant will allow us to engage with MBTM during the 2022-2023 school year with a unique opportunity for our high school students to experience their unique, activity-based violence prevention programming. From early ages, boys often encounter limiting and narrow definitions of masculinity that value sexism, violent problem solving, and dominance, while devaluing self-awareness, authentic relationships, social awareness, help-seeking, and responsible decision-making. As boys develop, these stereotypical beliefs about gender roles result in an increased likelihood to engage in acts of violence toward self and others, and other harmful behaviors. Early intervention through developmentally appropriate middle and high school prevention programs is critical to help youth embrace more expansive attitudes and beliefs about masculinity. As a result of this project, students will learn tools to help foster a safer school environment where people of all genders are equally valued and respected, including specific strategies for upstander intervention and violence prevention.”
Tags: ELs, High School, Teacher, Traditional Public School, Urban