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Residents Blazing a Trail to Help Local Men & Boys

Photo (c) Lynn Uchalid

Photo (c) Lynn Uchalid

“The needs of local men and boys weren’t being met and we wanted to step up,” said Rodger Stotz, a former longtime Southington resident. “Our communities need a resource.”

A Step Up: Men & Boys’ Fund was established earlier this year at Main Street Community Foundation to make it possible for men and boys to improve the quality of their lives and make a positive difference in their community. The idea was brought to the Foundation by a group of local residents, which included Rodger Stotz, Whit Betts of Bristol and Rob Caiaze of Burlington. The men then began holding several community meetings with local leaders, social service providers and businesses to discuss and identify unmet needs of men and boys in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott.

“The meetings were eye-opening,” stated Whit Betts. “We heard about a local unemployed, homeless truck driver who qualified for a job but he was forced to turn it down because he couldn’t afford the $95 license renewal fee. We learned about how there are over a dozen boys in Bristol who need – and want – a mentor but all the mentoring programs were full.”

The Fund is still in the beginning stages, but four objectives have been set: Increase availability of resources and programs in the local communities specifically for men and boys; encourage philanthropic giving among men; educate residents on the unmet needs of local men and boys; and support mentoring and positive role models for boys in pursuit of the Fund’s mission.

A Step Up: Men & Boys’ Fund will award grants to support immediate, short term needs as well as long-term needs in the areas of education, health and wellness, leadership, life skills and workforce readiness, key areas requiring additional resources as discovered during the community meetings.

“There is nothing like this in the central Connecticut area,” stated Susan Sadecki, President & CEO of the Community Foundation. “The Community Foundation is home to a very successful Women & Girls’ Fund, which has been providing the communities with funding for 15 years. A Step Up: Men & Boys’ Fund is being built using the lessons learned from the model and we are excited about its future.”

Anyone interested in making a contribution to A Step Up: Men & Boys’ Fund may do so at any time by sending donations to Main Street Community Foundation, P.O. Box 2702, Bristol, CT 06010.

For more information on A Step Up: Men & Boys’ Fund or how you can make a lasting impact in your local community by becoming involved with the Fund, call Susan Sadecki at 860.583.6363.

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