From dancing to addressing domestic violence to using music to promote improved mental health, an increasing number of programs are finding new ways to meet pressing societal problems faced by today’s young men. Ashoka's Changemakers and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched a global competition to capture the most innovative approaches to supporting young men ages 15 - 25 in reaching successful and healthy adulthoods. The top programs will receive funding to support and expand their programs.
Young men are increasingly at risk of suffering from societal problems of gangs, addiction, crime, violence and mental health problems. These challenges are often the greatest for young men around the world where traditional education, justice and health care systems are not consistently providing them with the support they need to reach their full potential.
“The well-being of families and communities in the U.S. and around the world are directly tied to the well-being of young men at risk. We need leading thinkers to collaborate on addressing societal challenges and take a new approach to finding more effective solutions,” explains John Govea, a senior program officer at the foundation, calling upon programs using innovative approaches to share their successes.
Young Men at Risk: Transforming the Power of a Generation invites organizations working with 15- to 25-year-old males to submit their unique approaches to helping young men overcome societal challenges. In addition to tapping top models to share and replicate, organizers seek to foster a dialogue among top thinkers from the academic, funding and business communities who are working with this generation of young men at risk.
“Communities around the world have extraordinary innovations to share” notes Charlie Brown, the executive director of Changemakers. “By using the Changemakers.net platform, there are unlimited possibilities to discuss, refine and scale programs and approaches that are improving the lives of young men and building on their assets."
The competition will accept applications on the Changemakers.net Website through January 23, 2008. During this time, applications will be available for review, comment and discussion on the Website. Once the competition has closed, a panel of judges will select 12 finalists and three winners. The winners will receive $5,000 in funding to pursue and expand their work.
Young Men at Risk: Transforming the Power of a Generation is the fourth in a series of competitions hosted by Ashoka’s Changemakers and RWJF to find enterprising solutions to social problems.