The end of the school year was one of excitement for a group of 10 to 12 year old boys at Bellambi Public School who graduated from a eight week empowerment program run by the Top Blokes Foundation.
The workshops involved them learning skills to help get on top of issues such as anger management, improving mental well-being, reducing bullying, transitioning to high school, how to define a healthy sense of masculinity, drugs and alcohol, discrimination and using screen-time.
Top Blokes was founded by Melissa Abu-Gazaleh to mentor boys and young men on life skills to get them a better chance making good decisions entering adulthood and becoming young men who make a positive difference in their communities. The Top Blokes Mentoring Program helps recognise young men and the inspiring work they do and generate positive news stories that will inspire others like them.
Yea 5 student Cylas Kentwell, 11, said he liked the cause because “it is not just learning. It is fun learning”.
“We did a team work activity where we had to flip a map but we all had to be on it. You couldn’t do it unless you compromised your ideas and worked together as a team,” he said.
“The things I gained most from it is the understanding of how things are going to change as you get older with your masculinity. It was very good”.
Realising that both primary and high-schooled aged boys’ social issues weren’t being dealt with, the youth-led organisation has empowered thousands of teenage boys to tackle the social issues they struggle with and create their own positive definitions of masculinity, self-worth to improve mental health and well-being.
The Foundation also provides young men around Australia with opportunities to thrive and achieve their potential.
It is one of the life-changing projects the IMB Bank Community Foundation supported in 2018.
Each year for the last 19 the charitable arm of IMB Bank, has donated up to $500,000 to community groups and charities.
2019 is the 20th anniversary year and applications are open until February 28 for community support submissions. As part of the celebrations recipients will share in $700,000 of funding this year.