A "boys' day" at Naugatuck High School brought together two groups of students on Thursday.
This came at a time when organizers said self-esteem issues aren’t limited to one gender.
It was organized by three student leaders who found a way to reach out to younger students.
Sixty boys in need of a mentor or guidance participated with the help of Naugatuck Youth Services, where a survey of students showed self-esteem issues among male teenagers.
"One of the things that we found was that boys self-esteem between 8th and 9th grade often drops, which is interesting because most people talk about self-esteem in the context of girls,” said Kristin Mabrouk, of Naugatuck Youth Services.
The peer-mentoring conference was organized by members of the school’s DECA program, which is a leadership group at the school.
"We also saw that numbers of people who were missing either a father figure at home or were missing some form of a leader in their life, they were at risk of having either poor decision making skills, being a good leader or what we noticed, the ability to be confident in yourself,” said Naugatuck student Brian Goggin.
There were 20 different mentors on-hand for the day-long conference.
"Personally, I just like seeing people, I like helping people, I like seeing people do better in their lives and I get a really good feeling out of that,” said student Omari Solomon.
"It really demonstrates the beautiful community effort that exists in Naugatuck, to take care of all of our children, specifically with young men,” said Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke.
They focused on leadership training, healthy risk taking, decision making and relationship building, hoping to make a life-changing difference.
"What I find myself constantly reminding people (about) is that we don't need to give youth a voice, they already have one. We need to give them an opportunity to use it,” Mabrouk said.
Organizers said the exercises can help at a time when we feel more connected because of the internet, but we can actually be more disconnected as a society.
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