The Men’s Leadership Project is an innovative community-based leadership development and mentoring program that pairs UVA undergraduate men with local middle school boys. The big brothers and little brothers build strong, respectful relationship that help them both to grow as leaders in their schools, communities and families.
Big and little brothers’ year together begins in the fall and continues through the school year. Big brothers must take Curry School courses with Dr. Peter Sheras in order to ensure that they understand their little brothers’ challenges. These courses prepare the big brothers to be the strong mentors that the boys need to thrive in middle school and beyond.
A group of big brothers and little brothers spends one afternoon per week together at the little brothers’ middle school. Each pair of big and little brothers also gets together in their free time to do things they both enjoy. Activities such as a ropes course are used to bring the whole group together as a team and to challenge the boys to stretch themselves physically and emotionally.
MLP is especially committed to understanding a wide range of masculinities, fostering a gender-aware perspective on leadership development and mentoring, and encouraging active participation in respectful, healthy, pro-social and anti-violent community roles for those who identify as men and boys.
“I joined MLP because the program was unlike anything I’ve ever heard of. The novelty of the program is in its ability to analyze critically how masculinity shapes our perception of the world and utilize that understanding in how we interact with our little brothers. We don’t ‘teach’ them per se, but we try to give them the tools to look at their world in a different light.”
If you would like to learn more, please let us know! Email Claire Kaplan at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Interns have different responsibilities than Big Brothers. These students are: consistent and dependable, organized, and have interest in mentoring middle school boys, masculinity theory and development, and leadership development in youth. Writing skills and Spanish fluency is a plus. Please note: This internship is for those interested in supporting mentoring programs and anti-violence education.