Polk County Decategorization

Program Highlights: Boys To Men Youth Programs




The mission of Boys To Men Youth Programs is to help equip minority youth and families with the tools necessary to successfully complete elementary school, transition into middle school and assist families in addressing delinquent behaviors that might lead the youth into the juvenile justice system. Our programming also provides opportunities for high school students to volunteer to work with younger youth while avoiding delinquent activities that could be detrimental to their future.  Additionally, our programming meets the needs of mainstream students who are enrolled in regular education programs as well as alternative school programs, and provides age and developmentally appropriate opportunities for youth and families to build community while learning basic life skills that are conducive to productive members of their communities.  We believe it is important to inspire students and help them to see themselves in a positive light despite their surroundings, family history or current situation. Our programming strives to promote positive self-image, remove barriers that could lead to positive behaviors such as being leaders by working with school counselors, teachers, parents and other community based programs  and teach youth basic leadership skills to be successful in both school and community.

The organization works primarily for the benefit of at risk young males between the ages of ten (10) and thirteen (13) in the Des Moines Public Schools and neighboring community. Currently, Boys to Men meets after-school with Fifth grade boys from area elementary schools on a weekly basis to provide positive support and guidance. These after-school programs function as outlets to connect Fifth grade boys with positive role models from the Greater Des Moines community. Boys to Men also promotes the importance of staying in school and setting goals, notably providing Fifth grade boys a positive path as a way to express themselves.

After School Sessions

The weekly after-school sessions actively promote teamwork, leadership, and personal responsibility and offers 5th grade boys’ opportunities to engage in (1) individual and group wellness activities; (2) leadership development activities; (3) education enrichment activities; and 4) practical “Skills” experiences.

For many young boys, personal and social challenges are causing harmful effects on psychological and emotional maturation. Dropouts experience higher levels of unemployment, receive lower earnings, and experience health and affective problems at more alarming rates than high school graduates. Fortunately, the positive-peer collaboration in Boys To Men encourages strong academic achievement for urban elementary school children and offers leadership involvement with and within the community.

During these volatile social and economic times, Boys to Men is actively building young male leaders who are prepared to combat the growing negative momentum of youth in society. Thus, providing a fun and collaborative “rites of passage” for boys to develop into caring, productive, responsible leaders for tomorrow. By partnering with parents/guardians, volunteers and others in the community Boys to Men is accountable for facilitating activities for boys in its program to achieve:

• Higher aspirations, greater confidence, and positive relationships

• Avoidance of risky behaviors

• Educational success


Boys to Men is committed to continuing to create new and broader pathways and opportunities for boys to develop as young leaders. Mentoring, leadership exploration, and learning are activities that define the current and future activities Boys to Men, youth, and their families will continue to support. Therefore, triumphing life’s adversity with strong and enduring public support can improve the lives of disadvantaged youth for the better, forever.

Through these activities, students will begin or expand the ways in which they define themselves as leaders. Additionally, by equipping families with information about other programs to assist with inappropriate and challenging behaviors, parents can better support their youth as they develop into young men.

As an incorporated non-profit corporation Boys To Men is at the frontline of the at-risk youth battleground. Its vision is to foster values – integrity, leadership, and respect – within the hearts and minds of youth. Its mission is to provide positive, practical, and supportive activities for boys and young men to reach their full potential – as caring, productive, and responsible leaders.

End of Year Events/ Rewards

Finally, Boys To Men provides a celebratory end of the year event for all its participants who make it to the end of the year. At the conclusion of the event each youth receives a Leadership trophy commemorating their successful completion of the program.  They also receive their Boys To Men Youth Programs t-shirt, dinner and tickets to go to Sky-Zone or Go-Cart riding as a way to continue to expose them to other ways to have fun. This year we will celebrate nearly 40 students in all. We will also recognize our nearly 10 volunteers who have helped us make it through the year.

Funding is very important and needed for our organization to continue providing programming in the Des Moines community.  We could definitely use the $3,000 and more if possible to continue our programming of football camps, camping, tours to historical sites, local sporting events, snacks, meals and drinks, t-shirts, games, supplies and a host of other necessities as we continue to be proactive in our efforts to save our youth.

I would be happy to discuss our organization further and thank you for considering providing us funding.

Thank you for reaching out to us about this opportunity.

John Hawkins, Executive Director