Reflections on the Becoming a Man (BAM) Core Values

Jul 30, 2023

BAM Scholars reflect on their experiences and the impact of the program’s core values, which empowered them to make responsible decisions and foster personal growth.

GreenLight Fund launched BAM in Boston in 2017. Coming from Youth Guidance in Chicago, BAM provides school-based group counseling to young men in order to learn, internalize and practice social cognitive skills, make responsible decisions for their future, and become positive members of their school and community. BAM bases their curriculum around six core values that help guide young men in their journey of self-discovery and into adulthood.

In 2022, BAM brought these core values to over 400 young men across 11 schools. Below, some BAM scholars reflect on their experiences with the program and what these core values mean to them.

“I think BAM mostly taught me how to become a man because before I started BAM I lied a lot and never kept my word. Like I’d tell someone I’ll buy them something then after I’ll never give it to them. When I joined BAM, Mr. B [BAM Counselor] told us what it means to be a man and I started to think I’m going to keep my word so I can be a man.” – BAM Scholar, 2022

“All of those (BAM core values) became little pieces of my character. The class [BAM] became a safe place where I could talk freely and learn what it means to be a real man.” – BAM Scholar, 2022

“When I was a freshman, I came across the BAM room on the fourth floor. I was drawn to that space, not because I wanted to participate in the activities that we were doing in BAM, I was interested in the snacks…. [I stayed in BAM] because of the fruitful core values that BAM offers to young men. And now, I am forever grateful for having allowed myself to go and experience that BAM environment. As if the core values weren’t enough, BAM showed me that manhood was not a definitive answer – meaning you can always get better.” – Thomas Thermidor in his graduation speech from English High School, June 11, 2021

“I’ve been in BAM for four years now. My life over the last six months has been nothing short of up in the air, but with BAM, it’s way easier for me and my family…. The hardest challenge that I face but have begun to overcome slowly is being vulnerable in front of others. I oftentimes have a hard time taking a deep dive and talking about the things going on in my life, but BAM has made it so I don’t feel like I have to carry this burden alone and keep quiet. I can tell those I trust. Instead of feeling like this is a sign of weakness I’ve started to realize this is more a sign of strength and that I am in touch with my feelings.” – Kendrick Wilhite, BAM Scholar at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science

“I’ve had the amazing opportunity of being in BAM all years throughout high school and will continue my growth with BAM in my final year of high school…. I initially thought BAM would be nothing more than a place where guys would talk about their feelings, but it was so much more than that. A lot of self-awareness, growth, and exploration was brought about and shared between all involved…. BAM has been a key program in my life. BAM has been with me through my greatest moments and supported me through the toughest times.” – Joshua Ramgeet, BAM Scholar at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School

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