For Side by Side Kids students, the volunteers, crew leaders, and staff serve as influential leaders who point our kids to Christ. While we are extremely grateful for every individual, current, and past, who has said yes to joining alongside the mission of Side by Side Kids, a noticeable trend has repeatedly manifested in our service patterns--we are lacking male leaders.
Is this really a problem?
According to our 2014-2015 Annual Impact Report, over 120 students were served through our ministry, totaling over 4,000 hours of faith development. Currently, out of the 25 crew leaders employed at Side by Side Kids, less than one-third are males. Though there is a lesser disparity among volunteers who serve, with 10 out of 25 being male, this figure maintains the fact that collectively, males account for less than 20% of those currently serving.
Recent research on boys and men of color by Sáenz & Ponjuán suggests male mentorship is crucial for students when it comes to their educational achievement. This is especially important as a vast majority of our male students at SBSK identify as Latino or African American.
By third grade, boys are an average of a year to a year and a half behind girls in reading and writing abilities (ncEs 2000). Moreover, most boys in grades four through eight are twice as likely as girls to be held back a grade (ncEs 2006).
In a recent study of school discipline policies in Texas, researchers found that 83 percent of African American males and 74 percent of Hispanic males reported at least one discretionary violation between seventh and 12th grades, significantly higher rates than those for their female counterparts (Justice center 2011)
Boys are twice as likely as girls to be labeled “learning disabled,” they are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, they constitute up to 67 percent of the special education population, and in some school systems they are up to 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with serious emotional and behavioral disorders.
For these reasons, it’s important that male role models be present to help our students flourish in their academic, personal, and spiritual life. Through the daily impact of Crew Leaders and Volunteers, male leaders can inspire students, develop leaders, empower heroes, and encourage Christ followers.
Proverbs 22:6 reminds us to “Train up a child in the way he should go,” because “even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Men, how will you help us train up our kids in the way they should go? Find out next steps on Our Jobs or Volunteer pages!
Sáenz & Ponjuán (2011), The Institute for Higher Education Policy. Men of Color: Ensuring the Academic Success of Latino Males in Higher Education.