Soccer Without Borders Boston has begun implementing the FUTURES Without Violence Coaching Boys into Men curriculum, a comprehensive violence prevention program. SWB held a virtual training session for 16 participants including staff, volunteers, and coaches from other East Boston community partners. SWB will begin program delivery to middle and high school aged male participants in April. This programming has been made possible by a Youth Development Fund Violence Prevention grant from the City of Boston.
In the United States, one in four women reports experiencing violence by a current or former partner and approximately one in three adolescent girls is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner. CBIM inspires athletic coaches to teach their young athletes that violence never equals strength and violence against women and girls is wrong. The program comes with strategies, scenarios, and resources needed to talk to boys, specifically, about healthy and respectful relationships, dating violence, sexual assault, and harassment. (Courtesy coachescorner.org & futureswithoutviolence.org)
Leila Milani is a Senior International Policy Advocate at FUTURES and a member of the SWB Board of Directors. She has helped implement CBIM in numerous international settings. “The structure of SWB practices coupled with the coaches’ commitments to nurturing meaningful connections in safe spaces is the perfect environment for the delivery of CBIM,” said Milani. “The SWB athletes who may go through this program will have a better understanding of how those very rules of respect, trust, communication and equity that are highly valued on the field can be incorporated into their relationship experiences off the field and contribute to nurturing lifelong healthy relationships long after the whistle is blown.”
During the training, coaches were introduced to the CBIM program and learned how to implement it with participants through role playing and question and answer sessions. Bruno Contreras, Boston Program Director, was pleased to extend the training to community partners including Boston Scores, YMCA Boston, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, and the Jewish Family Service.
Contreras reflected upon his own upbringing in Mexico and noted that the CBIM curriculum for boys is a critical complement to the work that SWB is doing to create opportunities for girls.
“I grew up in a predominantly misogynistic and macho culture and when I talk to the SWB participants, they recognize that as well,” said Contreras. “Men in our lives said a true man provided, protected, and procreated. But in my country [Mexico] 10 women a day die from gender violence. We have to include boys in this approach to gender equity and this program is doing that.”
SWB Boston will start the next phase of Coaching Boys Into Men in April, implementing the program with middle school and high school boys. The program lasts 12 weeks and coaches will facilitate conversations on topics ranging from insulting language and personal responsibility to understanding consent.
Senior Program Coordinator and boys coach Ye-Htet Soe received the training and will be among those leading the implementation. “I’m looking forward to having space and resources where young men can safely talk about topics that break through the societal norm and cultural barriers,” said Soe. “The CBIM curriculum will be the bridge that will support these young men into having a more constructive and positive conversation around essential and complex topics. The goal is to create young leaders that will impact the community in the best possible way.”