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Under Construction: Huntsville Parks & Recreation launching male mentorship program

Published on September 14, 2022

Huntsville’s Parks & Recreation Department is committed to serving citizens of all ages, especially children. Through after-school programs, youth athletics and special activities, every effort is made to help give children the tools they need to grow physically, mentally and emotionally.

Community Services Recreation Superintendent Dorianne Johnson said the department’s latest outreach is the direct result of community engagement.

“Through speaking with parents and children at our recreation centers and other facilities, we learned there was a real desire for strong male role models in the lives of many boys,” she said. “After researching the possibilities, we identified boys, ages 7 to 17, as our target audience and got to work!”

The resulting Male Mentorship Program launches this week with a free monthly series, titled “Under Construction.” Topics will include building self-esteem and increasing self-confidence, as well as the importance of self-projection, emotional intelligence and conflict resolution skills.

“I am extremely proud of our team in their efforts to make a difference,” Johnson said. “Launching the Male Mentorship Program will provide young men with character growth opportunities, while also exposing them to engaging recreational activities and community leaders who care.”

Upcoming events

On Thursday, Sept. 15, from 6-8 p.m. at Johnson Legacy Center, participants will meet David “Hoss” Johnson. The Huntsville native and member of the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame played football for the University of Alabama under Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant before playing in the NFL. However, it’s his years of helping young people reach their potential that truly cement his legacy.

After talking with Johnson, attendees will explore the topic of building self-esteem. Future events are scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 6, and Thursday, Nov. 10, from 6-8 p.m. After winter break in December, the Male Mentorship Program will resume in January.

Professional recreation staff will supervise each free event, which will also include rock climbing, team building and fitness activities. Boys may be dropped off at the facility. However, prior registration by a parent or guardian is required. Registration is open for the October and November events.

Make a difference

As the program grows, the goal is to not only reach more children but also more adults. Men, ages 18+, are needed to serve as role models and helpers. The time requirement is minimal; the impact is rewarding. Ready to be a changemaker? Take the first step by filling out a Mentor Interest Form.

Potential mentors who need more information can email Recreation Administrative Coordinators Dexter Holt at dexter.holt@huntsvilleal.gov or Brian Wilson at brian.wilson@huntsvilleal.gov. They may also call Parks & Recreation’s main office at 256-564-8026.