CES Spotlight blog posts shine a light on youth sector programs and initiatives in Ontario that are undertaking an evaluation journey in collaboration with YouthREX’s Customized Evaluation Supports (CES) at one of our regional hubs across Ontario. The blog posts describe the programs and initiatives and how evaluation supports their objectives to improve youth wellbeing.

In September 2015, Next Gen Men began an evaluation journey with our Central Hub through our Customized Evaluation Supports (CES) program.

Next Gen Men
Next Gen Men’s After-school Program

TARGET POPULATION
Newcomer youth
Racialized youth
Youth living in poverty
All youth, specifically male-identified youth aged 12-14 years

RELATED STEPPING UP THEME(S)
– Health & Wellness

Diversity, Social Inclusion & Safety
Strong, Supportive Friends & Families

CES START DATE
September 2015

How do we define masculinity? How can we end gender-based violence and discrimination? What does a healthy relationship look like? How do we talk about mental health with our friends and family? These are questions that Next Gen Men are trying to answer.

MISSION
Next Gen Men is a youth-led, nonprofit organization focused on building better men through youth and peer education, engagement, and empowerment. Since 2015, they’ve been creating space for young men to explore gender, masculinity, and health in their after-school programs, workshops, and presentations throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Next Gen Men’s After-school program runs for 10 weeks with a group of up to 15 male-identified students in grades 7 and 8. They facilitate activities, games, and discussions around their program pillars of self (acceptance, esteem, love, and awareness), health (mental, emotional, and physical), and others (inclusiveness, diversity, empathy, and relationships). The goals and objectives of their program include: exploring concepts of masculinity and positive, healthy ways to be a man, challenging gender roles and stereotypes, developing leadership skills, self-confidence, and self-awareness, celebrating diversity and learning from others different from ourselves, building skills for mental health prevention and promotion, developing connection and support among peers, practicing empathy and increasing emotional intelligence, and exploring what a healthy relationship looks like, how to practice consent, and how to be a good friend.

“Next Gen Men is a place where I can come and be myself after school.”

– Ashton Meadows, 2015 participant

In Next Gen Men’s 10-week after-school program participants experience team-building exercises and group bonding activities, and friendships that last beyond the program and the classroom and school setting.

“Our team is really committed to evaluation and ongoing learning, and because we are a small, youth-led team, we have a lot of flexibility to adjust and adapt our evaluation methods and our actual programming based on what we learn. We hope this will help to ensure that our approach to evaluation is successful and sustainable for our organization!”

– Next Gen Men

Why Customized Evaluation Supports? 

When asked about why they chose to use YouthREX’s CES process, Next Gen Men said, “Our evaluation hopes and dreams are two-fold. First, we want to be to able to share the stories and experiences of how our participants are learning and growing through our program with our stakeholders (by stakeholders, we mean everyone from parents, teachers and school admins, to our funders and community partners). Second, and maybe more importantly, we want to be able to observe, document, and learn from what we are doing, so that can continue to improve our programming and increase our impact.”

Next Gen Men has completed their CES journey with YouthREX! Check out this infographic on the impact of their inspiring work that YouthREX helped create. 

“We need to put structures and resources in place to engage youth in evaluation. This will be a challenge because of our limited capacity in terms of human resources and time! We can create meaningful opportunities for our participants to provide their feedback on their experiences in our after-school program through the follow-up questionnaire, and the informal focus group discussions at the end of program.”

– Next Gen Men

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