Program helps boys become men

March 4, 2009 3:50:44 PM PST
The road from boyhood to manhood is treacherous in Chicago. Many boys have no male role models in their lives. A select group of students at Roberto Clemente High School are involved in a Youth Guidance character building education program called BAM, 'Becoming A Man'. Licensed clinical professional counselor, Anthony DiVittorio, creator of the program teaches young men the skills they need for manhood.

"They have a clear vision that they can create their own manhood. That they can make choices," said DiVittorio.

"BAM is about becoming a man. Having respect for yourself and other people," said Lenard Presly, BAM student.

The students check in once a week by telling each other what makes them sad, glad , angry or scared.

The program is based on five principles: integrity, accountability, self-determination, positive anger expression and visionary goal-setting.

"You know, it the great to see academic progress and matriculation in school, but the attitude is the thing that changes rather quickly," said DiVittorio.

Wednesday, the students learned all about uncontrolled savage anger versus constructive warrior energy. They demonstrated how to deal with anger and stress in a positive way by acting out.

Boxing helps them to release stress and to focus positively. They are taught anger management coping skills.

"I learned how to turn my savage anger into warrior anger and I also learned how to be a man of my word," said Darren Gordon, BAM student .

Students say the course has helped them in many ways.

"It helps me out with my family, my problems at home or at school," said Brandon Diaz, BAM student.

"It helps me with the relationship, friendship, and to respect others like the teachers, and it helps me communicating with my parents," said Jose DeLaCruz, BAM student.

"When I go home and I have problems, I know how to release stress," said Dandrell Blind, BAM student.

The BAM program has been around since 2006. They teach young man about accountability, integrity and respect, and someday they hope to have it throughout the school system.