For International Men’s Day 2022, Flow partnered with social change group BKR Collective on ‘Reading N’ Reasoning’ sessions which positively impacted 100 boys at the Hope Valley Experimental and Jessie Ripoll Primary schools in Kingston.
The initiative is aimed at using positive male role models to promote literacy and personal development at the early stages of a boy’s life to help prepare him for his journey to manhood.
Over two days, and led by senior team members at Flow, the Grades 1-2 boys participated in the reading session while the Grades 3-6 boys were engaged in discussion around conflict resolution, personal development, career and family relationships.
Each boy also received a book, further encouraging him to make reading a habit. Lamarr Gidden, a six-year-old Grade 1 student at Hope Valley Experimental, was filled with excitement after receiving his copy of ‘The Giant Germ’. He said one of his favourite things to do is read and that he enjoyed being read to.
“I liked the story of ‘Max and the Two Sticks’ and how he used the sticks to play the drums everywhere,” Lamarr said playfully, as he played his own imaginary drum.
Principals at both Jessie Ripoll and Hope Valley Experimental lauded the initiative for its focus on literacy and conversations as enablers for healthy manhood.
“Initiatives like these develop confidence in our boys and we want our young men to understand that they are leaders and there’s a way how you express yourself. These experiences, through literature, will develop their ability to be confident and true leaders,” said O’Neil Stevens, Principal of Jessie Ripoll Primary School.
Principal of Hope Valley Experimental, Anthony Grant, added that the initiative complements the reading-focussed approach the school has embraced towards overall learning.
“It’s important for boys to understand from an early age that reading is the window to knowledge,” stated Grant. “Hope Valley Experimental has been putting a lot of emphasis on reading this school term because if you can’t read, how can you pick up a science book to learn science? So, this initiative is very timely for us.”
International Men’s Day is observed worldwide annually on November 19 and focuses on the value of men in society, positive role models, as well as men’s wellbeing. The theme for 2022 is ‘Helping Men and Boys’.
Flow’s Vice President and General Manager, Stephen Price, noted that: “International Men’s Day is about celebrating the positive values men bring to the society. At Flow, we wanted to demonstrate this by having men in our business personally interacting with boys and helping to shape their mindset about what manhood is.”
“We believe our boys can benefit from more positive role models in society and reading with and discussing tough topics with them is one way we can help them to better understand their life experiences.”
The Reading N’ Reasoning sessions allowed the boys to share their aspirations and were the facilitators to seeing the world through their eyes. The sessions were engaging, insightful and impactful.
Joel Nomdarkam, founder of BKR Collective, said he was inspired to conceptualise the project after discovering the benefits of reading for himself later in life.
“I started reading consistently only a few years ago and it totally transformed my life and I believe if we get boys to start reading more, we can better prepare them for what the world will require of them as responsible men,” Nomdarkam stated.