Men on a Mission: Valuing Youth Work in Our Communities

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Overview

Men on a Mission provides the first comprehensive study of men who work and volunteer with kids in a variety of public settings. This engaging book brings to life diverse histories and experiences of men who have worked as coaches, teachers, youth ministers, probation officers, Big Brothers, Boys & Girls Club staff, 4-H agents, and the like.

Drawing on in-depth interviews with men between the ages of 19 and 65, ethnographic observations, and more than twenty years of research on fathers, William Marsiglio explores the many aspects of male mentorship of youth, including the motivating factors, the effectiveness of differing interpersonal strategies, how the work is perceived, the influences that youth work and fathering exert on each other, the ways in which such volunteerism affects men's personal development, and the impact of social policy and programmatic initiatives. He also highlights timely public debates about the feminization of work with kids, the culture of fear arising from the exploitation of children, public discussions about fatherhood, and community initiatives to help at-risk youth.

Situating men’s youth work in historical perspective and discussing the status of youth today, this original and groundbreaking analysis offers a forward-looking vision for getting men more involved, and involved more productively, in helping kids thrive.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

The National Mentoring Center

This is a valuable book for any program serving young people.

American Journal of Sociology
Marsiglio gives voice to the enormous potential of male caregiving in the United States and around the world.

— William A. Corsaro

Contemporary Sociology
Insightful and inviting... the book particularly shines with Marsiglio's discussion of the difficult cultural context within which men work with young people... Scholars of youth, youth work and community development, as well as those studying masculinity, gender and care work will find this book an important and accessible resource.

— Shauna A. Morimoto

NCFR Community Portal
A fabulous book... Reading Men on a Mission was perhaps the best educational experience I will have in some time.

— Nancy

PsycCRITIQUES
This book is a moving drama of men telling their stories of how children bring meaning into their lives—by bringing meaning into the lives of children. It is incredible how varied the backgrounds of these men are.

— Moshe Landsman

Journal of Economic Literature

A comprehensive study of men who work and volunteer with children in a variety of public settings.

Men and Masculinities
Men on a Mission is an inspiring book and an important one... Marsiglio's work has broader implications for the study of human development in general and for men and masculinity in particular... Particularly valuable as we think about individual lives and social policy.

— Carl F. Auerbach

PsycCRITIQUES - Moshe Landsman

This book is a moving drama of men telling their stories of how children bring meaning into their lives—by bringing meaning into the lives of children. It is incredible how varied the backgrounds of these men are.

NCFR Community Portal - Nancy

A fabulous book... Reading Men on a Mission was perhaps the best educational experience I will have in some time.

Contemporary Sociology - Shauna A. Morimoto

Insightful and inviting... the book particularly shines with Marsiglio's discussion of the difficult cultural context within which men work with young people... Scholars of youth, youth work and community development, as well as those studying masculinity, gender and care work will find this book an important and accessible resource.

American Journal of Sociology - William A. Corsaro

Marsiglio gives voice to the enormous potential of male caregiving in the United States and around the world.

Men and Masculinities - Carl F. Auerbach

Men on a Mission is an inspiring book and an important one... Marsiglio's work has broader implications for the study of human development in general and for men and masculinity in particular... Particularly valuable as we think about individual lives and social policy.

NCFR Community Portal - Nancy

A fabulous book... Reading Men on a Mission was perhaps the best educational experience I will have in some time.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801888304
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

William Marsiglio is a professor of sociology at the University of Florida and author of Stepdads: Stories of Love, Hope, and Repair.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

1 The Mission 1

2 The Landscape 10

Youth Well-Being 12

Child and Adolescent Development 17

Today's Cultural Climate 20

Across the Decades 31

Demographics of Men's Involvement 38

3 Social Places 41

Physical Conditions 45

Time, Place, and Communication 52

Perceptions and Symbols 54

Institutions, Norms, and Policy Constraints 59

Private versus Public Places 69

Gendered Places 71

4 Men's Motives 75

Theories of Boys' Early Years 77

Gender and the Boy Code 80

Getting and Staying Involved 86

Giving Back 88

Filling Gaps, Expanding Horizons 90

Generativity and "Passing It On" 93

Reciprocity and Feeling Good 98

Seeing the Impact, Being Recognized 100

5 Relating to Kids 108

Leveling 110

Inviting Comfort, Contact, and Trust 118

The Power of Touch 122

Expressing Bonds 126

Rituals 132

Managing Borders with Kids and Parents 136

6 Managing Kids 144

Letting Kids Know They Matter 149

Keeping It Real 154

Being Ready: It Can Happen Any Time 156

Managing Difficult Kids 158

7 Making a Difference 168

Perceptions of Kids 171

Teaching Life Lessons 179

Creating Chances and Challenges 188

Building Social Capital 192

8 Men Andmentoring 200

What Is Mentoring? 201

The Mentoring Movement 209

Mentoring Programs: Practice and Value 216

Recruiting Men 218

Evolving Relationships 227

9 Public Andprivate Lives 233

Blended versus Separate Lives 235

The Culture of Fatherhood 242

Youth Work as Training for Fathering 248

How Youth Work Affects Fathering 252

How Fathering Affects Youth Work 256

Family Building and Claiming 262

10 Personal Growth 266

Emotional States and Styles of Feeling 268

Powers of Perception270

Self-Perceptions 274

Life Perspectives 277

11 Youth Work Domains 282

Childcare 283

School 285

Monitoring Sites and Criminal Justice 290

Recreation 292

Faith-Based Settings 295

Applying Lessons across Domains 298

12 Moving Forward 302

Comments on the Cultural Climate 304

A Vision 311

APPENDIX A Reflections on Study Methodology and

Future Research 325

Recruitment and Sample 325

The Interviews 326

Framing, Interpreting, and Judging the Interviews 328

Making Sense of the Transcripts 332

Ethnographic Observations 333

The Writing 334

Future Research 336

APPENDIX B Participant Profiles 339

Notes 353

References 367

Index 383

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