Boys become men in empowering program

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

Hedland teens are feeling a sense of ownership and empowerment after they succeeded in renaming their birds and bees program at the Youth Involvement Council.

Formerly called Brotherhood, the teens have renamed their program Boyz2Men in an effort to reflect their new identity and changing needs.

Formed a decade ago in partnership with BHP, the councils male birds and bees program has been renamed from Brotherhood to Boyz2Men after the teens felt the name no longer reflected their needs and ideas.

YIC chief executive Vicki-Tree Stephens said the boys now felt a sense of ownership and empowerment from the name change.

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“In all our programs, we like to get the youths’ input and if it’s realistic and affordable, we’ll make it happen, so something as simple as a name change is nothing in the big scheme of things if it makes them feel proud of their program,” she said.

“It doesn’t change the content — it just allows them to have a kind of ownership of it, which I think is important because we walk around saying we aim to empower youth, so we need to actively do that.”

The Boyz2Men program is an after-school program run at YIC HQ and focuses on sexual health, sexual education, relationships, bullying and career paths.

“It’s an honour to work with other people’s children, it’s not get them here, then growl at them and shape them how we want them ... they come as they are, who they are, their whole story — good, bad and ugly — and I think to empower them and really understand what that means is really important,” Ms Stephens said.

The program is run in segregated gender groups by same-sex youth workers, with the female program named the Butterflies.

For more information on YIC, visit www.yic.com.au or call the Hedland HQ building at 9140 1272.

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