Boys to Men has only eleven paid employees – the heart of our organization is the work of our volunteer mentors. One volunteer group facilitator for Boys to Men Mentoring who has stood out as a star leader is Jim Barrera, a longtime resident of the home of BTM, La Mesa, California.
Jim is a 61-year old proud father of two adult children and grandfather of two who found Boys to Men just over three years ago when he heard a friend talking about our co-Founder, Joe Sigurdson, and the amazing work his organization is doing with fatherless and high-risk teenage boys in San Diego.
Jim was at a loss as to what he wanted to do with his time upon retirement from 39 years as a federal civil servant working for the US Navy, and he recognized the fit he had with Boys to Men immediately.
After his background check, training and in-group experience, Jim quickly stepped up and accepted more responsibility as a group mentor, now facilitating five in-school groups in three different schools every week and standing in for other mentors when needed. Jim said, “Now I have five groups in schools, I rarely miss a Tuesday evening open community Journeyman meeting and I have volunteered at Sunrise Ranch for BTM Adventure Mountain Weekends over the last three years as well as acting as our day-of event foreman at last year’s Boys to Men 100 Wave Challenge. I guess you guys are stuck with me!”
When asked what he gets out of being a group mentor for the teenage boys in the BTM program, Jim explained, “Boys to Men is my connection to the human race. We have so few chances to make a spiritual connection with one another. Society is teaching these boys to be ‘independent’ and Boys to Men is opposing that – we are HERE for them. They don’t have to do this alone.”
Jim continued, “I would love to see BTM in every middle school and high school across the country. Seeing the boys’ faces light up when they realize they have a second family in our groups makes my day every time. I know we are making a difference.”
With the support of Jim Barrera and about sixty other active volunteer group facilitators at 31 weekly meetings in San Diego alone, Boys to Men Mentoring is helping the boys who need us the most to make better choices and become the GOOD MEN they want to be.