Grow Boys

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Grow Boys

Red Deer, Canada
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

More than 40 local people representing over a dozen agencies and organizations are currently supporting Grow Boys Red Deer. We believe these sorts of people live within every community. The first role of Grow Boys New York, Mumbai or Moscow would be to find them... to establish a network that believes in the mission/vision behind the effort. Whatever we can do to help is free of charge.

Grow Boys! is committed to building a framework of research that grounds our action to support boys. To that end we present the following items:

Literature Review Fall 2010
We conducted a literature review early within our process to justify a need for our concept, and to scan relevant published materials that supported our mission/vision.

Knowledge Cafe Spring 2011
We conducted the knowledge cafe to help create a local context for Grow Boys! Red Deer. We intend for our effort to be replicable, but also that Grow Boys! will look different in different communities.

Knights in Training K.I.T.
A pilot mentorship program that pairs high school boys as mentors to fifth-grade boys. Over twelve weekly, one-hour sessions, mentors and proteges use the game of chess and it's playing pieces as metaphors for positive emotional, social and moral development.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

On a micro level, boys lack opportunities to discover, improve and share their skills in a variety of contexts. As a result we get a society where the unique social, emotional, physical and psychological needs of boys are not supported. Bias and stereotype are prominent. Boys are misunderstood. They struggle to identify purpose and lack resilience as they succumb to self-fulfilling prophecies. They lack opportunities to thrive.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our Framing: Those that have thrived despite difficult circumstances typically explain that there was "that one person" who saw something in them that they didn't know they had; a strength to be leveraged toward personal success. We want to be these people. Beyond providing significant others for our boys, we also want to teach them to become significant others themselves. We do this by providing specific curriculum that teaches boys how to navigate the four domains of respect, understanding, relationships and responsibility within our community. We deliver this curriculum through a variety of community outlets including schools, social service agencies, the police and also through special events like conferences and symposiums.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Knights in Training conference framed around our four themes: Respect (domain of dependence)-Before boys can develop skills and perspective, they need purpose. The domain of respect is where we establish purpose; the place where we answer, “why?” Understanding (domain of independence)-Once we have purpose, we can move away from the sheltered phase of dependence to explore the world more confidently. Relationships (domain of interdependence)- Learners begin to understand the enabling power of belonging to a network- how to communicate meaningfully and honestly, and how to seek help when necessary. Responsibility- The place learners arrive at where they feel compelled to share their knowledge, skills and perspectives with others.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The impact of Knights in Training has been broad. New stakeholders are joining us as sponsors and supporters, and the conference has spurred increased interest in what Grow Boys (not just the conference) is all about Grow Boys is more than just a conference; it's a movement to support the happy, healthy growth and development of boys Our efforts lately have been to create separation between the conference (our first big event) and Grow Boys so Grow Boys can initiate other projects that reach a wider range of boys, and men, in support of their happy, healthy growth and development. We are focusing on projects that increase self esteem by exposing boys and men to activities they can become proficient at, and then by providing opportunities for them to share their skills with others.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We employ a growing number of local volunteers, and this is a critical element to any local Grow Boys initiative. To date we have been fortunate to receive local funding through various social service agencies and service clubs. We are aware that money isn't what drives the Grow Boys idea, but also that funds are required for particular types of support networks to be established. We are motivated to establish funding partnerships as we "grow."

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Our marketplace is global. As of now, we aren't aware of anyone else who is doing something like Grow Boys, but that doesn't mean they aren't What we do intend is for our concept to scale and grow. We have the template, but we understand fully that it would be difficult to simply "move" it into a new community. So we've designed a platform, now we would like it to extend beyond our community to have a positive effect for boys in other places... "Grow Boys New York; Grow Boys Mumbai; Grow Boys Moscow"... we believe our platform is malleable and purposeful enough to scale in this manner.

Founding Story

As a young man I grew up in a very unstable and stressful environment. The long story about why and how I became a teacher derives from that experience. As a teacher I recognize the issues that result in the lives of boys who I perceive are also growing up in an unstable environment. I recognize that boys need stability, and it needs to be perceived from their unique perspective. It doesn't matter what we think. We need to learn their stories. To that end... Our Mission is to: …provide opportunities for local boys to discover, improve and share their skills in a variety of contexts. Our Vision is: … A society where the unique social, emotional, physical and psychological needs of boys are supported without bias or stereotype.


Sean Grainger's picture

We're letting our boys down... all over the world. We ahve to do things differently to support their happy, healthy growth and development. We have to work together to do this. The best interventions relate to the amount of time we offer our boys in support of their happy, healthy growth and development. We have to listen intently to their stories instead of creating our own to describe them.