Men’s Leadership Project

28 02, 2017

Student Spotlight: Nick Rupert

By |February 28th, 2017|Blog, Men's Leadership Project|0 Comments|

Get to know Men’s Leadership Project Big Brother, Nick Rupert!

Year: Second Year
Major: Pre-Comm, and Music
Hometown: Clifton, VA

1. Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?

The Men’s Leadership Project (MLP) gives me hope for the future. As a big brother in MLP I get to work with my little brother and the other seventh graders in MLP in order for all of us to grow and become better leaders. A lot of these kids have never had a consistent male role model in their lives and it’s been such a rewarding experience being there for them throughout the year. I’ve honestly had so much fun teaching them about life, and learning alongside them as the year has progressed. Throughout the year we cover topics ranging from bullying, to sportsmanship, to what it means to be a man, and we even do some community service. I highly recommend applying for the Men’s Leadership Project if you’re looking to give back to the community, and develop a mentoring relationship that is extremely fulfilling.

2. What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?

I came here for the food.

Just kidding. UVA was close enough to home that I could go home whenever I wanted to, but far away enough that my parents weren’t going to visit every weekend. I knew that I would receive a high quality education here regardless of what I studied, and on top of that I think that Charlottesville is absolutely beautiful. I wanted to study music and business, and UVA just so happened to have an excellent music department, and a renowned undergraduate business program. I love it here.

3. What has surprised you about UVA?

I’m kind of surprised I haven’t been ousted yet for not being preppy. I don’t own anything that’s vineyard vines, or a pair of sperrys. I also don’t know how to tie a bow tie ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

27 02, 2017

Am I a Better Man Because of UVA?

By |February 27th, 2017|Blog, Men's Leadership Project|0 Comments|

Story by Anthony Buenafe

Ten years ago, I was part of the inaugural Men’s Leadership Project at UVA. I didn’t realize it at the time, but joining MLP was one of the best decisions I made in college.

My name is Anthony Buenafe, proud member of the Class of 2008. I studied liberal arts and in hindsight, I probably spent far too much time involved with the student leadership scene and not enough time at Clemons or Alderman Library. However, if I had to go back and do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. The experiences and lessons that I learned through student leadership were priceless – perhaps most importantly what I learned through the Men’s Leadership Project (MLP).

For those who don’t know – MLP is a group of UVA men (the “Big Brothers”) who meet weekly to discuss men’s issues and to mentor/interact with “Little Brothers” at Walker Elementary School. As a result of MLP, I expanded my understanding of masculinity across its spectrum (not buying into the narrow stereotypes of masculinity found in popular culture) and I gained a finer appreciation of how manhood is taught and learned. I may not remember every detail from MLP, but I’ll never forget that it was a “safe space,” where men helped each other to discuss and deepen their understanding of the tough, taboo topics that we are traditionally too scared to face.

In recent years, I found myself thinking about MLP and pushing myself to be a better man whenever I reached a new milestone. When I became a husband in 2013, I knew that I wanted to be the best husband I could be (and generally a good friend, ally, and advocate for my wife in any way she needed). When I became a father in 2015, I knew that I wanted to model healthy modes of masculinity to my son, in the hope that he becomes a better man and greater champion for women and men than I ever was (or will be).

Anthony Buenafe at UVAThen a few months ago, when my wife told me we were going to have a baby girl, I felt a wave of pride, joy, and mixed emotions. I felt fear of raising a daughter in a world where “girls at the age of six in the United States already see themselves as sexual objects.” I felt renewed outrage for all the injustices protested at the Women’s March on January 21st. I felt despair that change is not happening fast enough to end sexual violence on college campuses. I felt shame that we do not have enough men working for change on behalf of our wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, aunts, etc. Those feelings have called me to action; let’s help our boys become the good men of tomorrow, so our girls will know a better world as the women of tomorrow.

23 02, 2017

Alum Spotlight: Anthony Buenafe

By |February 23rd, 2017|Blog, Men's Leadership Project|0 Comments|

1. When did you attend UVA and what did you study?
I graduated in Spring 2008 with a B.A. in Anthropology and Psychology. I kept going and earned my M.S.Ed. in Education Policy in 2010 at UPenn.

2. How were you involved with the women’s center? What do you think was the biggest takeaway from your experience
I was a part of the founding cohort of the Men’s Leadership Project (MLP). My fellow MLP brothers and I would meet regularly to discuss men’s issues and to mentor our “Little Brothers” at Walker Elementary School.

To this day, I credit MLP with helping me expand my understanding and respect for masculinity as a spectrum. I don’t remember every detail, but I remember the feeling of a ”safe space,” challenging each other to talk honestly about tough, taboo topics, and coming out on the other side all the better for it.

These days, I miss the camaraderie and the talks I shared with my fellow MLP brothers. Amid the “real world” hustle and bustle of 9-5, raising a family, paying a mortgage, etc., I haven’t found anything quite like MLP – a group of guys to push each other to become better men, fathers, husbands, etc. I know it’s out there, I’m just not there yet.

3. Tell me about the most memorable conversation you had during MLP, whether it was with your Little or another Big Brother.
I remember talking to my Little Brother about his football idol, Tiki Barber… a lot. One night we were getting dinner at Newcomb Hall and we talked about how Tiki seemed like a good guy – never getting into trouble, hard working, and generally a good character. Tiki had also written a children’s book and was at our very own Student Bookstore for a book signing that night!

When we arrived at the Bookstore to line up to meet Tiki, we learned that we needed to buy his book (at full price, which I couldn’t afford)… and the line stretched out the door. My Little was devastated.

When I saw the look of disappointment on my Little Brother’s face, I thought to myself “what would MY dad do in this situation?” So I ended up walking us up past the line so we could at least get a closer view of Tiki and I positioned us about ten feet away from him. To my surprise, my Little softly blurted out, “Hi Tiki…” and Tiki stopped signing for a moment to return the greeting with a “Hi!”, a friendly smile, and wave of his hand. My Little actually fell backwards and I caught him before he hit the floor.

We both agreed it was a really cool moment and a smile still comes to my face thinking about it.

4. What are you doing now? what do you enjoy most?
My greatest joy was marrying my best friend in 2013 and starting a family together.

I also have a full-time job as a management consultant in service of our federal government. I honestly had no idea where my career would take me after my first job in AmeriCorps, but I ended up exactly where I wanted to be. Every day, I’m in the position to make a difference and serve the greater good – how sweet it is.

27 01, 2017

Apply now! Join one of our mentoring teams in 2017-18

By |January 27th, 2017|Blog, Men's Leadership Project, Young Women Leaders Program|0 Comments|

Through our Young Women Leaders Program and Men’s Leadership Project, we give students the chance to give back to the community they call home during their years at UVA. These community-based mentoring programs pair undergraduate men and women with middle schoolers from the Charlottesville area. Pairing course work with group meetings, as well as one-on-one activities with their littles, our Big Brothers and Big Sisters grow as leaders while helping their littles realize their own leadership potential.

29 06, 2016

Student Spotlight: Joey Paris

By |June 29th, 2016|Blog, Men's Leadership Project|0 Comments|

Get to know MLP Big Brother, Joey Paris!

What do you miss the most about your hometown when you’re at UVA?
So I lived in Atlanta, Georgia my entire life before coming to UVA, and I would have to say that the biggest thing I miss (aside from my family, of course) is the weather. I do not deal well with cold weather at all, so the colder winters and the more frequent snow days are something that have required a lot of time to get used to. Also, I do miss the fact that Atlanta is such a cosmopolitan city. I love Charlottesville as a college town and can’t imagine any better place to go to college, but I do sometimes miss the suburban city feel of the A-T-L.

Why are you passionate about the Women’s Center?
Honestly, I did not know much about the Women’s Center before joining the Men’s Leadership Project. I was unaware of many of the resources it afforded UVA students, but I’m glad that I have had the chance to become more familiar with its service through the MLP program. My favorite part about being in MLP is the opportunity to really transform the lives of some of these middle schoolers. It’s rewarding to know that the program has made a real impact on the boys we mentor. I’ve seen boys become more confident and more comfortable, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of the boys on a more personal level. Most important, the program has helped me learn that true leadership indeed requires service to others.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I have some very bizarre study habits. For example, I have a desk in my room, but I never actually use it for its intended purpose — it’s more of a stomping grounds for random, miscellaneous things. Instead, I can really only study or read if I’m lying down. I know it sounds weird, but I find it to be much more comfortable and conducive to a good learning experience.

25 05, 2016

Student Spotlight: David Roden

By |May 25th, 2016|Blog, Men's Leadership Project|0 Comments|

Get to know MLP Big Brother, David Roden!

Year: Second Year
Major: Undeclared
Hometown: Fairfax, VA

What do you miss most about your hometown when you’re at UVA?
I do not miss anything in particular about my town, but rather my family and friends who live there.

Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
I’m passionate about the Men’s Leadership Project because I think that better education and positive encouragement is vital for the youth in America today.

What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
UVA was my top choice for my whole life so when I got in it was an easy decision.

17 05, 2016

MLP Graduate Assistant, Jack Thorman, receives Coffelt Public Service Award

By |May 17th, 2016|Blog, Men's Leadership Project|0 Comments|

The Coffelt Public Service Award funds research-based community service projects intended to help both UVA students and youth in the Charlottesville community find meaning by engaging in a mutually beneficial collaboration. The award emphasizes both public service and research such that UVA students and non-profit partners learn from each other as they plan and execute annual projects to benefit children in the Charlottesville-area community.

Jack ThormanJack Thorman, Men’s Leadership Project Graduate Assistant, was one of two people awarded the Coffelt Public Service Award this year. Our Men’s Leadership Project partners undergraduate UVA men with middle school boys from the Charlottesville community. The big brothers and little brothers build strong, respectful relationships that help them both to grow as leaders in their  schools, communities, and families. The Coffelt Award will provide support for the Men’s Leadership Project, helping the program continue to grow and succeed.

This award was established by UVA College alumnus Robert M. Coffelt, Jr. in honor of his mother, Annetta J. Coffelt and his father, Robert M. Coffelt.  Having grown personally as a member of the Alpha Phi Omega (A.P.O.) community service fraternity and the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, and through his previous work on a U.Va. psychiatric ward, Mr. Coffelt desires to instill in current students the importance of giving of themselves to the community in which they live. In December of 2014, Mr. Coffelt formally asked that OpenGrounds hold an annual competition for the Service Award. Through conversations with Founding Director Bill Sherman, Mr. Coffelt recognizes that OpenGrounds offers the ideal network and structure to use the award in a way that will generate significant impact for university students and the communities they serve.

13 04, 2016

Student Spotlight: Aman Mangalmurti

By |April 13th, 2016|Blog, Men's Leadership Project|0 Comments|

Get to know MLP Big Brother, Aman Mangalmurti

Year: 3rd
Major: Neuroscience
Hometown: Ashburn, VA

What do you miss most about your hometown when you’re at UVA?
Right now it’s my Golden pup Charlie! At seven months old he is a handful, but whenever I’m home he’ll follow me around and it tugs at my heartstrings to leave that behind.

Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
The Men’s Leadership Project works to mentor and instill leadership traits in 7th grade boys. Our current culture pushes boys to be emotionless, dominant and physical, traits that can potentiate a host of negative and potentially dangerous actions. MLP is an acknowledgement that having someone by your side to explore the values of masculinity can prevent some of those consequences. I am invested in MLP because I really believe that we are fulfilling the role of a positive male role model for a group of boys who may not have an alternative. Also I love stepping out of the bubble that is UVA. It’s refreshing and hilarious to work with kids who are used to speaking their minds.

What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
To be completely honest it’s a great school and in-state so it was a easy decision for me! But also, I was really excited about the idea of going to a large school. It made me feel as though no matter what I would find somewhere that I would belong.

1 04, 2016

Student Spotlight: Joe Murphy

By |April 1st, 2016|Blog, Men's Leadership Project|0 Comments|

Get to know MLP Big Brother, Joe Murphy!

Year: 3rd
Major: Chemistry
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

What do you miss most about your hometown when you’re at UVA?
I definitely miss getting to see my grandmother. She moved to a nursing home near our house a few years ago, and it’s been a real blessing to be able to spend time with her. She’s hilarious and brightens my day every time I go see her. She’s actually become somewhat of an icon to my friends. I always post Facebook statuses about my interactions with her and some of the funny and ridiculous things she says. When you’re 94, you can get away with saying/doing pretty much whatever you want.

Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
I have met many amazing men through MLP. It’s a pleasure to work with such an interesting, diverse, and friendly group of guys. I feel that I have become a better man through my weekly interactions with them and the littles. In addition, it’s awesome to see the impact that we have on the littles. Last Wednesday, I asked my little what his high and low were for the week. He said his high was playing handball with MLP… can’t describe how great it felt to hear him say that.

2 02, 2016

There’s still time to apply!

By |February 2nd, 2016|Blog, Men's Leadership Project, Young Women Leaders Program|0 Comments|

There’s still time! Apply to be a Big in 2016-2017.

The Young Women Leaders Program and Men’s Leadership Project give you the opportunity to help middle school girls and boys find the confidence to become successful leaders in their schools, homes, and communities. As a Big, you commit to your program for one year, spending time with your Little in groups after school, doing group activities, and spending one-on-one time together. To help you be a strong mentor for your Little, each program has a required Curry School course to teach you about the challenges your littles face and how you can help them work through those.

The Courses:
Issues Facing Adolescent Girls I
Monday 4-6:30pm
Explore the psychological, social, and cultural issues affecting adolescent girls. Delve into theory and research on adolescent development, effective mentoring practices, and leadership development.

Fostering Leadership in Teenage Boys
Monday 6-8:30pm
Learn to maximize effective mentoring, foster critical thinking, and understand the relationship of theories of masculine identity to the development of middle school boys.

Questions about YWLP?
Email ywlp@virginia.edu or call (434) 924-9732

Questions about MLP?
Email uvamlp@virginia.edu or call (434) 982-2910