Taeshaun is an 11-years-old elementary school student and avid saxophone player. His mild mannered disposition made it difficult for him to speak up for himself and he experienced severe bullying at school. The harassment was so terrible that Taeshaun would often pretend to be sick to avoid school. His frequent truancy caused his grades to drop, and he even began to lose interest in his beloved sax. He felt alone because there was no one to tell or to offer him protection. Wanting to help her son, Taeshaun’s mom enrolled him in the Rites of Passage (ROP) program at CYGN. She wanted him to be surrounded by men who could mentor and raise his self-esteem.

The ROP program provided Taeshaun with a safe place to find his voice; he began discussing the bullying and the pressure he felt to emulate self-destructive behaviors. The ROP discussions revealed that many of the boys in the program experienced some form of bullying. Over the nine months of the program, Taeshaun’s self-confidence and self-esteem blossomed as be engaged in the workshops and CYGN’s martial arts training. He felt supported, he realized his value and worth, and developing coping strategies so he knew what to do when he encountered teasing, name-calling, and physical violence. Now, Taeshaun has returned to the saxophone and is no longer afraid to display his intelligence and academic prowess in the classroom. Taeshaun feels confident in his ability to address situations where he feels bullied, and he now speaks up for his peers to stop them from being bullied.

Teashaun is involved in following project

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