San Bernardino Fatherhood, a local nonprofit community organization, was joined by the Salvation Army, San Bernardino City Unified School District and the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in honoring 23 “unsung male role models” during its first observation of International Men’s Day on Saturday, Nov. 16.
The event was held at Indian Springs High School with many community leaders present to honor those nominated based on their contributions to their families and communities.
“The whole idea was to recognize the positive value that men bring to the world, their families, and their communities,” said San Bernardino Fatherhood Executive Director Ryan Berryman. “A lot of the time we hear about men, but it’s in a negative sense. We want to look at men in a positive sense.”
Demonstrating this is the fact that when Berryman began asking local community leaders to nominate positive male role models he was told, “I don’t know any.”
“There are men out there doing positive things, but, that’s the unfortunate thing, people are not seeing or recognizing them,” Berryman said.
This was the 10th annual International Men’s Day, and the local event was themed “Lead by example.” The speakers placed a special emphasis on the importance strong fathers and mentors play in the lives of the young men and women growing up around them.
The program featured inspiring quotations about manhood recited by local youth, speeches by community leaders on four pillars of health and wellness (physical, mental, spiritual and societal) and concluded with the recognition of the “unsung male role models.”
Berryman said the event was not only meant to honor the positive impacts of men but to also offer men the tools and opportunities to better themselves.
It also shown light on some of the challenges facing men ⎯ a demographic that lives a shorter average life span, has a higher suicide rate, a higher homelessness rate and a higher incarceration rate than women.
The positive role models were nominated by schools, churches, family engagement centers and community leaders and selected for a variety of positive impacts from demonstrating dedicated fatherhood to teaching and supporting students in and out of school to leading in community service projects.
Berryman says the organizers of this year’s event anticipate continuing the effort next year.
The “Unsung Male Role Models” were Arturo Aguilar, Steve Barkley, Adam Bogarin, Terry Boykins, Guadalupe Castillo, Vernett Ellis, Ian Franklin, Fred Fruehan, Albert Hopkins, Dathan Kearns, Jerome Lewis, Robert Lewis, Antonio Lopez, Jorge Lopez, Al Mesones, Dr. Robert Moss, Alfonso Muro, Robert Ortega, Paul Prado, David Reddix, Quinn Sanders, Dr. Reginald Woods and Aron Zimmerman.