OverviewThe Boys Initiative is a groundbreaking national campaign to shed light on documented trends in recent years pertaining to the deterioration in the achievement of boys and young men. This problem is evidenced by the decline in reading and writing scores, motivation and engagement, social adaptation and college attendance, and the increase in failure and drop-out rates, biological and developmental disabilities, socio-emotional difficulties, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders such as ADD and ADHD, risky behaviors and bullying.
These trends first became evident in the educational setting, but it is becoming clear that it is not an isolated academic problem, but part of a more disturbing social trend. Besides the boys themselves, this trend negatively impacts families, spouses and communities in significant ways.
Numerous theories and approaches for addressing the problem have been advanced. To date, however, no organization has stepped forward to facilitate information sharing on this increasingly important issue.
The mission of The Boys Initiative is to shed light on the trends described above, provide information on the causes, manifestations and potential solutions to them, foster dialogue about them, and to collaborate on solutions with those who are committed to the futures of boys.
Our goal is to accomplish this mission through outreach, partnering and coalition building with affected communities, scholars, the media, policymakers, organizations that represent the interests of girls and women, boys and men, parents and teachers and adolescent health care providers, among a host of other individuals, organizations and professionals devoted to the well being of our nation's youth, and by providing the means for communication and collaboration between and among these groups and the individuals within them.
To reach this goal, the Initiative will serve as a central source of information on both the causes of the overall problem and potential solutions to it; that is, serve as a "hub" for all who are affected by and have an interest in this important subject. The Initiative does not develop or advocate for any particular solution, but rather, facilitates dialogue on potential solutions.
AccomplishmentsOver the course of the past year, The Boys Initiative has accomplished the following:
The Strategic PlanIn the past year The Boys Initiative has evolved from concept to operational reality. To capitalize on recent successes and to sustain momentum the Initiative will focus on a number of specific action items during 2011. These activities constitute The Boys Initiative’s Strategic Plan for the remainder of the year. What follows is a description of those activities and plans for making them, and the organization, self-sustaining beyond 2011.
Overall StrategiesThe Boys Initiative supports a number of strategies to help improve the lives and futures of boys, including:
The Boys Initiative’s audiences include parents, teachers, counselors, academics, health care providers, policymakers and the general public. In addition to serving as a hub for information exchange among and between these various individuals and groups, the Initiative is dedicated to forging dialogue and collaboration on issues pertaining to both boys and girls.
If we are to successfully address these problems, their importance must be communicated to society as a whole and to stakeholders and organizations that can contribute to solutions. The Initiative's broad outreach is a cornerstone of this effort.
Among other things, the Initiative has already developed a focused data base of organizations, agencies, corporations and the media that have, or could have, an interest in the future of boys. The Initiative launched its outreach effort with its May 17 Washington DC briefing The State of Boys in America, and has continued its outreach with monthly updates to this audience. The Initiative is also reaching out to legislators and policymakers and beginning to identify champions for boys issues. Finally, the Initiative is developing an expert and speakers program, which will place speakers in various forums to provide visibility to the issue and the ways the Initiative is addressing it.
In addition to compiling information on boys, the Initiative offers a variety of resources. These include an online library of popular media and scholarly articles, an online data bank of experts, a daily blog, tools for parents and others such as “how to” materials, and the architecture and resources for a national network of parents, teachers and others who are addressing the issue at the local level.
Strategic Plan Components, Objectives and Activities 2011 - 2012Component One: Outreach
Objective: To identify and engage individuals, organizations and entities whose missions or activities relate to the issues The Boys Initiatives.
Activity 1: Continue to meet with key stakeholders* who have become engaged with The Boys Initiative through its outreach efforts and events such as the May 17 briefing. *Congressional and Executive staff, foundations, nonprofit organizations, corporations, mediaComponent 2: Services and Resources
Objective: To further develop services initiated to date, including the provision of resources, and to expand the services The Boys Initiative provides to stakeholders.
Activity 1: Continue to expand National Affinity Network in the following ways: a) increase number and geographic diversity of participants; b) develop resources for participants; c) facilitate ongoing interaction among participants; and d) publicize the activities of the network.Component Three: Engage Allies and Experts
Objective: To further identify and engage subject matter experts, spokesperson, partners and advocates
Activity 1: Continue to expand Board of Advisors by developing incentives for participation.Component Four: Initiate Special Projects
Objective: To identify, develop and launch collaborative special projects to draw attention to the issue and address it in constructive ways.
Activity 1: As part of outreach, identify and explore collaborative/partnership opportunities with allies and other organizations.Component Five: Policy Education
Objective: To identify, monitor and publicize relevant public policy activities and debates (note: the Initiative will not engage in direct or grass roots advocacy)
Activity 1: Identify related organizations that have a strong public policy presence to serve as potential sources for information on public policy issues.Component Six: Fundraising
Objective: To raise funds sufficient to support the activities of the organization
Activity 1: Develop and adopt finance and budgeting policies, procedures and standards.Component Seven: Human and Other Resources/Management
Objective: To ensure necessary levels of human resource support, nurture high levels of satisfaction and enthusiasm, and promote professionalism
Activity 1: Develop and articulate volunteer roles (including internships)and engage in volunteer recruitment.