A day for the boys


NHS students reach out to younger generation

NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck High School students partnered with Naugatuck Youth Services last week to help young borough boys build confidence.

About 60 boys from Naugatuck’s intermediate and middle schools visited the high school Jan. 12 for a day-long event called “Boys’ Day.” About 24 male high school students served as mentors for the event and spent time with their younger peers playing games and participating in team-building exercises.

Naugatuck High seniors Omari Solomon and Joseph Dempsey and junior Brian Goggin organized the event as part of their DECA marketing project, with requires students to work with and promote a local business or organization.

Solomon, Dempsey, and Goggin said they wanted to work with Naugatuck Youth Services, a nonprofit organization, because of how much the organization gives back to the community. They chose to promote the organization’s mentoring program, which was implemented in 2015 but hasn’t really developed.

The youth services program paired boys at City Hill Middle School with male students at Naugatuck High. Naugatuck Youth Services Director Kristin Mabrouk said a survey showed there is a significant decrease in self-esteem in boys as they transition from eighth grade to ninth grade.

Solomon, Dempsey, and Goggin extended “Boys’ Day” to include boys from Hillside and Cross Street intermediate schools.

“We wanted a day where these boys could meet a mentor, have an exciting day, and learn to be confident and good decision-makers who are leaders for the future. We hope these boys learn the power of Naugatuck Youth Service is there if they ever need anybody or anything they can come to the youth services for amazing people and a great safety net,” Goggin said.

Dempsey and Solomon echoed Goggin’s comments, saying they wanted to offer a program for the younger boys to come and talk about what was bothering them, find out what high school is like, and learn to build their confidence.

“We just thought why not put on this big day and bring them all to the high school, make them feel involved, make them feel good about themselves. Then they can say, ‘Oh wow, this isn’t bad at all,’” Solomon said.

Although the event was a one-day affair, Mabrouk, Solomon, Dempsey, and Goggin all hope that it leads to a revival of the youth services mentor program.

“If any of these kids say, ‘This was a good experience and I want to continue,’ they can come to Naugatuck Youth Services for this type of program,” Solomon said.

Mabrouk said the organization would welcome high school students who want to volunteer to be a mentor.

“We wanted today to be a one-day thing so [the students] are not committed to anything. But, at the end of the day, we hope some of the mentors say they want somebody long term,” Mabrouk said. “Hopefully we get a lot of interest so we can match kids up and keep the relationships going.”