I came to know about Patty Liston’s visit to Kenya in January 2014 through a friend I had met on Facebook. Since my work involves a lot of interactions with boys and men, my friend asked Patty if the two of us could meet and share notes about working with boys. It turns out that my whole life was going to be turned upside down, for the best of course.
I had just quit my job as a TV producer to focus on developing an organization that empowers boys through reading, discipleship, mentoring and capacity building. The decision to quit my job had been informed by my belief that God was going to provide me with opportunities to earn an income as an online writer. I also believed that I was going to channel a percentage of my income into my work.
For a number of reasons, I am glad I chose this path. One reason is that my choice led me to Patty and her program, Standing with Boys. The first thing that stood out to me, right from the beginning, was the boy’s motto she kept referring to. Patty made it clear that every boy should know who their “inside boy” is. By learning the motto, a boy will be able to draw the inspiration he will need to become the best he could be:
“ I am a young man of great promise, learning to become the best I can be:
A Young Man of Conscience, who will listen to my “inside voice”
A Young Man of Character, who will live with integrity and honor
A Young Man of Courage, who will stand for what is right, even if I stand alone.”
Having grown up without a father and failing to find a father-figure to look up to for guidance, this pledge resonated with everything that I would have wanted to grow up knowing. From that time, I decided not to focus on what I had missed growing up. Instead, I vowed to do all I can to make mentoring and empowering more boys and men as my goal and focus. Thanks to wonderful people such as Patty and Roger Liston, Standing with Boys is not just a program. It is a lifestyle that each one of us needs to embrace. Boys seldom get the opportunity to find programs that target them. I meet boys and women, who are broken as a result of not having been brought up well. Most of them point a blaming finger to the men who have deserted them.
As a man, I know my role. Much as it is difficult not having a positive male role model to look up to, I believe that all men can find it inside themselves to become the kind of men that our wives, children and the world deserve. We can make it happen. I believe that by implementing the Standing with Boys program, the world will be a better place to live in.
I am Jared Omoke. I am writing to inform you that James and I have been using the Standing with Boys handbook for some time now, and the result so far is very encouraging. Before we started using the book we had some challenges from teachers who had been used to programs that don't work. Right now, their response is different. I wish you were here the first time we introduced your program. The two teachers who were present never moved even a muscle, they were looking at us with their mouths agape.
Again I wish to let you know how I wish I had gotten this program earlier in my life. But I believe it is going to change the lives of the young people. God bless you.
I am Kaana from Kyewanise, Uganda. I became very passionate about Standing with Boys after our training in 2017.
I had wanted to have my own house but thought it was too difficult to achieve. I work hard, but had a low self-esteem. All of this changed after the Standing with Boys training. This was a turning point in my life. I gained abnormal courage to start building. I looked for avenues to have my dream of a house come true. Like the Boys Motto, I became a man of Courage.
I had a few pigs and had planted passion fruit. I sold the pigs and harvested the fruit. With that money I started construction. I made the bricks myself and used the skills I had to start construction. In June, with the help of some friends, I began to build. I have been able to build up to the roof. Now, only plastering, doors and windows and floor remains.
All this came as a result of the Standing with Boys training. Now, I mentor over 20 boys and move around telling people how this program has changed my life, making me a man of Conscience, Character and Courage.