Set Backs and Breakthroughs

How can you escape when the past has such a hold over you?

It’s hard and it’s painful, but in the end it is worth it. For Joel and his mentor Dale, the signs of stress were all too familiar.

After having been a mentoring team for several years, Joel’s grades started slipping. He started missing meetings with Dale. When Dale got a message from Joel at the last minute that Joel would miss their third meeting in a row, he decided to investigate.

Dale was pretty sure that Joel was with his girlfriend. Circling the neighborhood, checking out Joel’s favorite spots led Dale to the dugout of the school ball field where he found them making out. Dale walked over and casually sat down next to them, surprising the couple. It was decision time for Joel. What would he choose? School or his girlfriend?

Rather than lecture Joel, in their next meeting Dale lead him through an exercise in dealing with distractions. As they discussed their distractions, Joel’s girlfriend was nowhere to be found. Joel was very reluctant to consider that his relationship with his girlfriend was a distraction. Dale tried to help Joel see how his choices would affect his future.

How do you move forward when people you care about don’t want you to change?

At first Joel refused to listen. Then about three weeks later Joel intentionally broke up with his girlfriend. She took it badly and diligently tried to get back together with him. It was a rough time for Joel. He was lonely without her. But Joel stayed firm with his decision to move on with his life.

On his own initiative Joel found, applied and got enrolled in a summer program at Sac State for criminal justice. Joel’s grades improved. He will graduate this semester and plans to attend Sac State in the fall.

About six months after Joel broke off his relationship with his girlfriend, Joel saw her at a school event and noticed that she was several months pregnant.

Joel realized that the baby could have been his if he had not made the choice to break up with her. He is grateful for the fatherly guidance he received from Dale, guidance that took his life in a better direction.

More boys like Joel are waiting for mentors. We need $50,000 by this Father’s Day to give 27 fatherless boys a chance at a new life. Donate Today.

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Living Life Together

Skiing in Tahoe, catching a Kings Game, shopping for back to school clothes. Normal, right? Something everybody does.

Well, no not everybody. Many fatherless boys in the Sacramento region are surviving day to day with few of the activities that most of us take for granted. These boys are more comfortable with drive by shootings than they are a trip to the mall.

That all changes when fatherless boys become part of the Shoulder to Shoulder program. Shoulder to Shoulder matches fatherless young men with male volunteers who act as mentors. They provide the connection to fatherhood that these young men have missed.

From the moment boys and mentors are matched they start living life together through special events, fun projects and school challenges. The Shoulder to Shoulder sponsored Freedom Hall offers success readiness workshops, Friday Nite Live, camping and hiking trips and other special outings and events.

“I started coming to Freedom Hall for the video games, but I kept coming for the information I was hearing that I never heard before. They taught me a new way of doing life.” – Semaj Horace, Freedom Hall Graduate, 2014

In another event, the ‘Great American Cardboard Boat Regatta,” boats were made by the boys from cardboard boxes and duct tape with minimal help from the mentors. Once completed, the boys and mentors went to the high school pool to give it a try. The boats were launched with one young man in each, armed with an oar. The goal was to see who could make the most laps across the width of the pool. It wasn’t long before the boats took on water and sunk. The winner made 10 laps. The next summer the boys had learned. When these boats were launched, the winner made almost 70 laps.

More memories are made together include visiting the California Maritime academy for a tour of the Golden Bear Training ship, enjoying Kings and River Cat games, motocross, and even turning “cowboy” at the Pro Bull Riding Tour.

We need $50,000 by this Father’s Day to give 27 fatherless boys a chance at a new life.

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It Takes A Village

We know that it takes more than a single parent to raise a child and the saying that “it takes a village” rings true more today than ever before. In our region, the number of fatherless homes has increased to more than 200,000, putting many our youth at a disadvantage. Statistics show that boys who grow up fatherless are more likely to wind up in jail or on the streets than those in two-parent homes.

But we can put an end to this debilitating cycle.

We, as one community, can have an impact that lasts generations. Help break the cycle on June 17 for the Legacy Challenge in downtown Sacramento at the State Capitol for a fun 5k Run/Walk. (not a timed event)

Join us as families and community leaders will honor men who serve as great fathers and mentors.

The cost is just $30 and will have a profound impact on Shoulder to Shoulder to be able to reach more at-risk youth in our neighborhoods.

Sign up with your family and friends today!

Richard Moore,

 

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A Joyful Connection

A fatherless boy. A new man in his life. Maybe for the first time. Anger, frustration, sadness and a spirit of fear is replaced by warmth, joy and a growing sense of acceptance and purpose. And Yes, just plain fun.

Shoulder to Shoulder matches fatherless boys with surrogate fathers called mentors to provide young men with the experience of growing up with a dad. It’s an experience none would likely have without the commitment made by the men willing to be mentors.

“At first I was reluctant to mentor because we were presented with a 6-year commitment with the possibility of helping your young man through college. Jeremiah and I have developed a relationship of trust, honesty, hope and a father/son-like love. I have seen the development of the character of a young man that I am proud to call my friend,” said a mentor.

STS needs your help to raise $50,000 to find and support mentors for 27 fatherless boys waiting for a chance at a new life. Can you help us?

The First Snow Fall

“The boys were on overnight trip to a camp in the mountains. It was winter and it had snowed. We have a picture of Raymond carrying a snowball the size of a cantaloupe. Carrying it with no gloves; carrying it as a prized possession. Having never seen snow, he was bound and determined to take it home to show his family and friends, most of whom had never seen snow either,” said a mentor.

Pride of Accomplishment

“I’d been to many graduations over the years and responded with the perfunctory hand clap and smile. This time it was different. I jumped up and down in my bleacher seat screaming and yelling with tears in my eyes. My boys were graduating: My boys that began our program in the 7th grade with an average GPA of ‘F’ or lower were graduating. All were above 2.75 some were above 3.0 and a couple were 3.8,” said a mentor.

Growing Together, Mentors Speak

As the boys grow from scared and hopeless children into young men of strength, character and accomplishment their mentors grow as well.

“I’ve grown so much with my own children, other people and my own relationships.”

“You see kids who think they have no hope. Their chins on their chest. You see them change. They stand up straight. They look you in the eye. You can see them change right in front of you. It’s very impactful.”

STS needs your help to raise $50,000 to find and support mentors for 27 fatherless boys waiting for a chance at a new life. Can you help us?

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